Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty (2010)
Guitarist Torben Waldorff does not shy away from a challenge. He channels the unknown for germane ideas that he plumbs with resolute imagination. And it does not matter if inspiration comes on the path to invention or flies from the written note.
Waldorff's wrote the music for this CD with his band in mind. Having played together, he knew just where they could take the written note. Their communication is fertile and the end result is persuasive in its logic and resolution.
Donny McCaslin and Waldorff are often the complement, and the foil, to each other. They set this in motion on "Shark" with McCaslin letting the melody be the sentinel for invention as he takes off into cogent tributaries. Waldorff's ruminative chords serve as the backdrop before he rocks out in a dramatic, yet melodic sequence, and changes the countenance completely.
The creative process in the evolution of each song is constant. "Waves" builds its impact slowly. The leisurely pace is set in motion by McCaslin in tandem with Jon Cowherd who brings in a lithe pulse that gets deeper into the groove and more dazzling as the tune evolves. Waldorff adds to the impetus with winsome swing. The changes are seamless and document the ease with which the musicians feed each other to elevate the music.
"Song-Ella" gets off to a buoyant, dancing beat on the guitar and then settles into a lovely Brazilian motif. Cowherd instills an extended swinging interlude on the piano while McCaslin bookends the melody, serving up grace and surging waves in appropriate measure. It is a marvelous piece of music.
"Scape," a hymnal drenched in soulful harmony, becomes the perfect closer; a gentle, graceful tune that is the culmination of music that is diverse, rich in detail and abiding musicality.
Track Listing: Shark; Shining Through; Waves; American Rock Beauty; Late; Lama; Song- Ella; Scape.
Personnel: Torben Waldorff: guitar; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Jon Cowherd: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Matt Clohesy: bass; Jon Wikan: drums.