Bob Brookmeyer & Kenny Wheeler: Island (2003)

Artist's House does it again with Island, a lovely session by Bob Brookmeyer, master composer and trombonist, and composer/flГјgelhorn giant Kenny Wheeler. With drummer John Hollenbeck, pianist Frank Carlberg, and bassist Jeremy Allen, the quintet creates a series of expansive yet pastoral jazz settings for the exploration at the margins without the edges. Make no mistake; aesthetically this is "beautiful" and deeply moving music. The level of composition here is the heist, and the articulation of these tonal and harmonic architectures is flawless. As for the interplay between Brookmeyer and Wheeler, go no further than Wheeler's stellar "114" for evidence, a song in which lines are played, tagged, and re-sung with nuanced gestural and textural differences as the rhythm section winds and shifts its way around time and space considerations. Likewise, Brookmeyer's lengthy "Island," with its contrapuntal elegance and impressionistic charm that allows Wheeler to state a melody as if it had left the room the day before, is hauntingly gorgeous. As Brookmeyer gradually enters into the discussion between Wheeler and the rhythm section and colors the ends of his lines with new extensions and codas, the entire track opens like a lily on Easter morning. Like Jimmy Giuffre's experiments with Jim Hall and those with Steve Swallow and Paul Bley, tonal exploration along tapered harmonic convergences is the stuff of masterful composition. That this music is played with such grace, elegance, and aplomb makes it a gift to be cherished and studied.
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