""A throughly enjoyable, tasteful CD you'll want to play a lot.""Jazz Wise, 01-8-2016
Deepening a two-tenor partnership that dates back to the mid-'90s, saxophonistsSeamus Blake and Chris Cheek follow up their quintet release "Reeds Ramble"(Criss 1364) with Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, featuring the same powerful band lineup (Ethan Iverson on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Jochen Rueckert on drums).
While they stand apart as gifted soloists, Blake and Cheek always flourish as a team, bringing luster to every tune with their lyrical unison melodies and beautifully harmonized theme statements.
Spontaneity plays a big role, as it should when improvisers of this caliber get together (Iverson's versatility and off-kilter eloquence comes through with particular strength).
But foremost, what distinguishes this group is the logic and efficiency of its arrangements, whether slow and spacious or brisk and complex; from originals and modernist classics to standards of '20s and '30s vintage.
Born February 11, 1973 in Menomonie, Wisconsin – moved to New York City in 1991 and played dance classes, comedy sports, theatre pits, and in the New York Tango Trio with Raul Jaurena and Pablo Aslan – studied with Fred Hersch, then Sophia Rosoff, – became music director of Mark Morris Dance Group in 1998 – was part of late-’90s indie jazz scene along with Bill McHenry, Jeff Williams, Reid Anderson and others, mainly documented on Fresh Sound New Talent, thanks to Jorge Rossy – worked as a sideman with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner in 2000/2001.
The Bad Plus with Anderson and Dave King formed in 2001, the Billy Hart Quartet with Turner and Ben Street formed in 2003, Do the Math debuted in 2005. In recent years Iverson has performed with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, Nasheet Waits, Lee Konitz, Ron Carter, Tom Harrell, Ron Miles, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake and Sam Newsome.
Iverson’s 30-minute solo piano score for Dance Heginbotham, “Easy Win” (2015) and the string quartet movement for Brooklyn Rider, “Morris Dance” (2011) are through-composed.
His current piano teacher is John Bloomfield of the Dorothy Taubman tradition. Iverson resides in Park Slope with wife Sarah Deming.
George Gershwin was an American composer, who is mostly known due to his combinations of classical and popular music genres.
George Gershwin grew up in a poor neighbourhood in New York. His parents were Russian immigrants who had trouble making ends meet. They did, however, decide to purchase an old piano so Ira Gershwin could study to become a musician. Yet, it turned out not Ira, but his younger brother George showed remarkable talent. Ira applied himself to writing song lyrics and together the Gershwin brothers became absolute greats in the world of 20th century musicals. Nowadays, George's compositions are still relevant, as is evidenced by the many performances of his Rhapsody in Blue from 1924. But the best example is the ageless Summtertime, which has been covered a countless number of times by a countless number of artists.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Chris Cheek began playing the alto sax at the age of 12. Thanks to a strong public school music program and a highly supportive family, Chris had good educational and performance experiences from the very beginning. While attending Webster University, Chris played with a variety of local Jazz and Blues bands including legendary saxophonist Willie Akins' group and the Bob Kuban Brass. Chris went to Boston in 1988 to attend Berklee College of music where he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Joe Viola and Hal Crook.
Chris moved to New York in 1992 and since then has toured and recorded with Paul Motian, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, The Bloomdaddies, and the Orquestra de Jazz de Matosinhos . Chris has also played with Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Lee Konitz, Carla Bley, Tom Harrell, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Frank Carlberg, Eliot Zigmund, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, El Muchacho and many others!
Cheek also plays with the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout, Rudder, Steve Swallow's Quintet, Guillermo Klein's "Los Guachos", and the newly formed Axis Saxophone Quartet, alongside Josh Redman, Chris Potter and Mark Turner. In addition to appearing on numerous CD's as a sideman, Chris has recorded 4 albums as a leader for Fresh Sound Records. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
"A throughly enjoyable, tasteful CD you'll want to play a lot."
Jazz Wise, 01-8-2016