Whirled Jazz: Mukilteo (2001)
Whirled Jazz is a group comprised of adventurous musicians from the jazz rich Northwest United States. There is no indication where the group got its name for the album. It may well refer to the waterfront city of Mukilteo, Washington. Whatever the source, on this its first album the quartet deals with a play list made up entirely of originals. While some pieces may have some wildly played measures, most of the music on this album is clearly cerebral. This music is well-thought out both in terms of its harmonic and melodic organization and the role each member has been assigned in its performance. The result is 59 minutes of chamber jazz with kick at its very best. Different musical styles are examined, often within the same piece of music. Familiar jazz rhythms are found on "Frunkin'" carried along primarily by Keller Coker's trombone in contradiction to the frenetic dissonance of against Bergeron's alto. Coker plays with remarkable fluency offering a clean sound with no deliberate smearing of notes on this piece or anywhere else for that matter.
But the performing philosophy of the group is best summed in the 12 minute dissertation titled "Pacific Crest", dealing with a series of musical modes. Its opening recalls the modal music style brought to fruition by Miles Davis on the seminal recording Kind of Blue. Underneath, the bass of Page Hundemer offers an exotic line as a segue into chamber jazz. The latter takes up the bulk of this piece engaging in masterful patterns of counterpoint built around solos, mostly by Bergeron and Coker.
If the use of the word "whirled" means flowing as in an eddy, the group certainly has achieved that objective with distinction. Recommended.
Track Listing: Mukilteo; Kum Sah; Pacific Crest; Tadasana; Frunkin'; Radiance
Personnel: Tom Bergeron - Alto Sax/Flute; Keller Coker - Trombone; Page Hundemer - Bass; Dave Storrs - Drums