Renzi/Weinstein/Kamaguchi: Dream Life (2002)
There is something about the language spoken by the trio of Renzi, Weinstein, and Kamaguchi. It is jazz, yes. But the band speaks seemingly from both inside the tradition and also from an outsider’s perspective. And the trio hand-picks its subject matter with just such purpose in mind. On their first recording, the 1999 Lines And Ballads, they drew from Monk, Parker, Roach and Evans. Here they mix the music of jazz mavericks, Ornette Coleman, Carla Bley, and Dave Brubeck with the standard “If I Should Lose You,” into a complete musical album concept.
The disc opens and closes with Coleman’s “Blues Connotation” reconfigured into a walking pace that signals this band is making the music their own. Renzi, who has studied with (and certainly absorbed the sounds of) Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, maintains a lyrically pensive tone throughout. Like the piano trios of Bill Evans, this trio is equally balanced with each voice given equal footing. Jimmy Weinstein is master of shading ala Max Roach or Billy Higgins, equally confident on the skins or cymbals. They don’t so much de-construct as they re-construct these tunes. And there is no sentimentality here. Why should there be? These are young musicians and they take a seriously optimistic approach. They punch Brubeck’s “The Duke” into life by a dancing Kamaguchi bass line and their passive-aggressive energy on “Ida Lupino” reminds one of Paul Motian's work with Joe Lovano.
This disc, like their first outing, make a strong statement for many a top ten recordings of the year. It is a must hear.
Track Listing: Blues Connotation; If I Should Lose You; Dream Life; Isreal; Quiet Now; The Duke; Ida Lupino; All My Life; Blues Connotation.
Personnel: Matt Renzi – Tenor Saxophone; Jimmy Weinstein – Drums; Masa Kamaguchi – Bass.