Brooklyn-based drummer/composer George Schuller pays tribute to Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet on Like Before, Somewhat After, the second release to feature his long standing working band, Circle Wide. Three decades after the demise of Jarrett’s underappreciated ensemble, Circle Wide reinvents six of its favorite tracks from the Jarrett catalog, some of which it has been performing live in the New York area for years, and documents two Schuller originals inspired by the source material.
“Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet, featuring saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian, is generally regarded as one of the more exciting and influential working jazz bands of the 1970s,” writes journalist Bill Milkowski in the liner notes. ”Schuller pays tribute to Jarrett’s American Quartet with his Circle Wide, a remarkably cohesive and exploratory group featuring saxophonist Donny McCaslin, vibraphonist Tom Beckham, guitarist Brad Shepik, bassist Dave Ambrosio and special guest percussionist Jamey Haddad (Jarrett’s group was often supplemented by percussionists Danny Johnson, Guilherme Franco or Airto Moreira). Together they succeed in capturing the amazing elasticity and rarefied inside/outside aesthetic that Jarrett achieved 30 years ago.”
“Embracing the lyricism inherent in Jarrett's writing, Schuller's ensemble offers one of the most euphorically adventurous albums in recent memory. Effortlessly moving between freedom and formal structure, Circle Wide embraces the same malleable, inside-outside aesthetic that the American Quartet excelled at. Like Before, Somewhat After invokes the bittersweet intensity of Jarrett's formative work, making this richly rewarding tribute one of Schuller's most beautiful and accessible albums." --Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com
"...a tribute album that exceeds its goals because it isn't satisfied with a simple tip of the hat. Circle Wide has played these Jarrett pieces in concert, some for several years, and these performances show it. They’ve added to them their own personality and signature." — Mike Shanley, JazzTimes
**** "...Schuller revisits the funky syncopated gem "Common Mama" with fresh energy, the expressive two-part "Survivor's Suite," a rocking "Rotation" and the easy going "De Drums" as if originals. Schuller, Beckham, McCaslin and Ambrosio evoke the spirits of Paul Motian, Gary Burton, Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden." — John Ephland, DownBeat
"What I liked is that it takes the politeness out of Jarrett’s music, and puts an earthier taste into it without in any way violating the beauty of these admittedly very beautiful tunes. Keith will probably wince at parts of it, though secretly I suspect he’ll be mollified. His contribution as a composer was overdue for recognition." — Brian Morton, PointofDeparture.org