Jesse van Ruller|Seamus Blake|Sam Yahel|Bill Stewart
Super Dry (Jesse van Ruller)
Holistic (Jesse van Ruller)
Sway (Jesse van Ruller)
Amsterdam (Jesse van Ruller)
Gladiator Glamour (Jesse van Ruller)
Tear Jam (Jesse van Ruller)
Strung Out (Jesse van Ruller)
Jesse Van Ruller’s ninth recording as a leader finds him sharing the front line with tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake and fronting a rhythm section that includes Hammond organist Sam Yahel (of Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band) and drummer Bill Stewart. It’s a configuration that would lead you naturally to expect a certain funkiness, and you do get some of that on this all-original program: “Super Dry” combines a finger-snapping rhythmic groove with a complex harmonic structure, creating an effect that sounds almost like a cross between James Brown and Thelonious Monk. There are some exhilaratingly bop-derived moments as well, especially on the zippy “Sway” and the joyfully headlong “Silk Rush.” But some of the most impressive cuts on this disc are the ballads: a lovely piece called “Sway” (on which Yahel makes particularly tasteful use of the volume pedal) and the equally fine “Tear Jam,” on which Van Ruller’s guitar is accompanied only by the organ and drums. There’s a nice blues composition as well and a midtempo number in 5/4 that sounds a bit like a waltz with a sprained ankle. Very nice overall. ~ Rick Anderson
Liner Note Author: C. Andrew Hovan.
Recording information: Systems Two Studios, Brooklyn, NY (10/19/2005).
Photographer: Govert Driessen.