Review Published: September 2002
By Glenn Astarita (All About Jazz)
J.E.R.M features the young talents of: bassist Jacob William, drummer Ed Nicholson, tenor saxophonist Rolf Schloenvogt and pianist Michael Beck. This newly released outing brought to us by a multinational ensemble of Berklee School of Music grads, was recorded in 1999. And while the music is three years old, the bands outlook and symmetry offers a refreshing outlook, featuring ten melodically tinged tone poems. Throughout many of these pieces, Schloenvogt solos atop rolling and tumbling drums and piano motifs. Essentially, the quartet opts for an animated yet persuasively climactic approach consisting of wavering crescendos and nicely constructed dreamscapes. Although the bands modern jazz based initiatives provide the winning touch. In some respects, these frameworks rekindle thoughts of John Coltrane's spiritually inclined ballad-based works. The band's subtle vibrancy and focused modus operandi instills a flotation-like vibe. Hence, a strong outing that warrants repeated spins.
New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000
By Dave McElfresh (JazzNow)
In the liner notes, these Berklee students (who come from the United States, India, Germany, and Switzerland) thank Ran Blake, Jerry Bergonzi, Joanne Brackeen, and Kenny Werner, who, if they weren't personal instructors, have nonetheless left the foursome with a similar appreciation for musical identity.The mood is generally dark and the playing plenty thick, as a group had better be able to demonstrate in Boston where the Jazz competition is nearly as fierce as in NYC. There's an intentional skirting of each song's tonal center, an enticing approach that seduces us into repeated listening. As in impressionist music, the quartet's players build on ideas seductively and only partially stated. Such intense Jazz is, unfortunately, over the heads of many who need to be reinforced by that tonic chord every twelve bars or so. Such tethered Jazzers might want to experiment with the freedom these trailblazers incorporate.
Reviewed by: J. Nannen (Jazz Review)
J. E. R. M., an acronym containing the initial of the first name of each of the members of this quartet, is a Boston-based band that sounds like they have a real ECM jones. A pleasant sound, especially from competent musicians such as these, but like the joke about that other acronym, is this Excessively Cerebral Music? Not necessarily, but there certainly are moments on this disc when I wish they would let things fly a bit more.
The opening track is a pensive, Charles Lloyd-like incantation, followed by "Pleasure Bay," which is not a dramatic shift from the opener in terms of mood, but there is a bit more energy here. "Monkis Vindaloo," from the pen of bassist Jacob William, allows him to display his refined tone. Pianist Michael Beck leads an interesting conversation following William's brief solo, with some fine points made by drummer Ed Nicholson.
Other standout tracks include reedman Rolf Schloenvogt's "Wherever You Go," with a Bobo Stenson-like intro by Beck and lush harmonies between the two, and "Wind Dreams," with another fluid intro by bassist William.
Something that is refreshing is to see young and talented musicians taking an interest in a less common vein of jazz such as this. With all the jam jazz and electronica bands out there right now, it's good to have different directions being pursued. However, this recording being four to five years old by now, I wonder how different they might sound today . . .
Copyright© 1998 JazzReview.com®. All Rights Reserved.