Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Linda Presgrave - Along the Path

Pianist, composer and arranger Linda Presgrave has a new recording "Along the Path" (Metropolitan Records). The recording is her fourth and has her in the company of Harvie S – bass, Allison Miller – drums & gongs, Stan Chovnick – soprano sax (and Presgrave's husband), Todd Herbert – tenor sax, Vincent Herring – alto sax, and MJ Territo – voice/lyricist. With this ensemble, Presgrave Linda Presgrave takes the listener along on a musical journey from several ports of call in Asia to the Catalan region of France on two suites, "The Asian Suite" and "The French Suite" before the disc closes with soprano saxophonist Chovick's "Universal Freedom."

The opening title track, the first of the four-part "The Asian Suite," evokes to this listener the Ellington-Coltrane collaboration with Presgrave, Chovick, Harvie S and Miller each taking solos. Ms. Presgrave impresses with his lyricism and touch of her playing. The second part of this suite, "Where East Meets West (Macau)," is a lovely trio performance that Harvie S introduces. Chovick returns to state the theme of "Harbor Lights (Hong Kong)" and then explore the lovely melody. The closing work of this suite, "Asakusa View (Tokyo)" was inspired by a view from a Tokyo hotel of the Sensoji Temple, and is the most energetic performance of the suite with some powerful driving soprano sax and a memorable solo from Miller.

"The French Suite," a six-part work was inspired by a tour of France and includes an opening trio section, three quartet performances (with different horns); a song with all three horns and a final part with a vocalist. The opening trio, "Colors of Collioure," a light beautiful waltz with Miller's deft use of brushes under the lovely piano here. Chovick is featured on the enchanting "Bird of Céret," inspired by a bird's song Presgrave heard from her hotel balcony in the French Catalan town, with a feel to these ears akin to Brazilian jazz. Todd Herbert's robust tenor sax is featured on "You Just Never Know," a spirited performance that conjures up the classic John Coltrane Quartet. After Vincent Herring's alto is spotlighted on the atmospheric, and aptly titled, "Blues For a Rainy Night," all three horns are present for highly spirited solos on "Place Picasso," named after a lively plaza in the town of Céret. The final part of the suite is a vocal version of ""Bird of Céret," with lyrics and a vocal from MJ Territo who tells the story of the inspiration of the song.

Chovick contributed the final work "Universal Freedom" to this recording under the rubric of "Our Hope For the Future." This minor blues (again evoking Coltrane) in 3/4 time has a fiery soprano solo along with solos from Presgrave, Herbert and Miller. It is a fervent performance that provides a strong ending to the outstanding "Along the Path."

I receive my review copy from a publicist. Here is Linda and MJ territo performing "Bird of Céret."

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