Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting It Right

Not long ago I attended the opening set of the Charlie Haden Quartet West at Birdland. Although the news that longtime member Ernie Watts was being replaced by Ravi Coltrane was encouraging, neither Coltrane nor the band itself ever really found the groove that set. Far too many long, unfocused solos clotted the atmosphere. If there were few involving moments, there were quite a few instances when things went off the rail completely. A self indulgent tenor soliloquy by Coltrane was, well, self indulgent; just because Dad pulled that feat off with honors doesn't mean his offspring are obliged to try. But nothing came close to pianist Alan Broadbent's strikingly inappropriate solo piano outing on Ornete Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Cloyingly rhapsodic and laden with brocaded passages, the just-plain-wrong improvisation practically begged to be taken out of its misery. What was he thinking?
Here, Broadbent, a stylist whose early trio albums I admire, particularly "Personal Standards," gets it right. If his interpretation veers away from Silver's lusty funkiness it takes on a suitable spirit of its own. Foster, no funkmesiter either, nails it as well.

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