East West Quintet: Vast (2009)
Apparent in the Brooklyn-based East West Quintet's Vast is the way the music teeters between colors, tunes, dynamics, rhythms and abstractions. Varying degrees of crescendos and decrescendos transform the mixtures of melodic temperament from peaceful to anthem-like, from quickly paced to mellifluously slow. That the band members play a multiplicity of different instruments is crucial; they take turns weaving solos throughout the pieces to grow textures that have highs, lows and indisputable middle ground. Except for trumpeter Phil Rodriguez, featured on the first two tracks, and drummer Jordan Perlson, saxophonist Dylan Heaney, guitarist Simon Kafka, pianist Mike Cassedy and bassist Benjamin Campbell composed the music.
The integration of drums, piano, keyboards and guitar is a graceful one, with penetrating tonality. The piano/drum darkness often evokes emotion that falls into the realm of the blues. When a vibe sound creeps in, midway through the record, lightness abounds, beginning a transition into a series of musical statements that examine voices particular to the piano, sax and guitar. The drums act as the core to the music, taking off in flurries or remaining rhythmically steadfast behind repeated synchronized choruses or tuneful individual displays from the other instruments. The layering is clearly detectable. For that reason, the music loops, twirls, sings and drives through a strangely syncopated terrain that is Vast but not intractable.
Track Listing: The Triumph; Catalyst; Vast - Pt. 1; Vast - Pt. 2; Over the Falls; Comet; Daffodil 11; View from Above; Gangster Rap; Brooklyn.
Personnel: Dylan Heaney: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Simon Kafka: guitar; Mike Cassedy: piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer; Benjamin Campbell: acoustic bass, electric bass; Jordan Perlson: drums, percussion; Phil Rodriguez: trumpet (1, 2).