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Oswanski Quartet - 1st Set
– July 26 2013
Jazz Club – 6 Depot Square – Montclair N.J.
Hammond B-3 & accordion
“When the music was playing, I could close my eyes at times and feel
like I was in heaven.” Those
words were spoken by my companion for the evening in describing
the brilliant set the Ron Oswanski Quartet laid down at
Trumpet’s on this evening.
I certainly felt privileged to have spent an hour plus
reveling in the sounds emanating from the bandstand.
The quartet presented a schematic on how to make
invigoratingly ebullient music that had myriad elements of
atmospheric spaciousness and nuanced fluidity.
John Abercrombie is one of my favorite five guitarists on
the planet. On this
night, Mr. Abercrombie earned first place in my personal pantheon.
He was a wonder of effortless technique coupled with an
intuitively fluid musical imagination.
Ron Oswanski, through his playing, compositions and
interpretations, delighted with either a lyrically bel canto flow
particularly on Sleeping
Beauty and the spiritual/gospel workout December’s
Moon, the title track of his great new cd.
The set began with 80-80-8
on which Mr. Abercrombie supplied fluently imaginative fretwork.
Tim Ries swung, thwacked and honked on tenor while Ian Froman
skittered in the background with boundless poly-rhythms, but
Sleeping Beauty illustrated, through all of the player’s contributions, what
freedom through discipline sounds like.
Nuance, layers of harmony and marvelous fills and runs on
their instruments allowed for the listener to experience multiple
a-ha moments of musical pleasure.
The band also performed Mr. Abercrombie’s tune Nick
of Time (from his 2012 ECM release Within
A Song) with rigorously thought out variations and
On the tune December’s
Moon – Mr. Ries, on soprano saxophone, went “girls gone
wild” at the end, and as he had done several times throughout
the set, pulling the band with him over the edge and deep into the
Abercrombie’s solos were the height of elegance and taste in the
beginning before he too jumped into the heightened fray.
Mr. Oswanski for his part offered up thick, tasty slabs of
honey cured bacon on the B-3 while Mr. Froman, as he did on every
tune, was a study in controlled mania, his sense of dynamic and
drive a text book in how to present the drum kit as a vitally
fluid and melodious instrument.
The band took you to church on this one and left you
wishing the sermon had been a bit longer for a change!
Mr. Ries’ Saint
Michel, with his accompanying spoken intro describing the
song’s genesis, was a dulcet temptation of sun and sweet summer
breeze paralleling an alternate existence raveling and unraveling.
Mr. Abercrombie’s solo was expansive on this tune with
all the players employing a wide range of dynamics and responding
to each symbiotically.
The set concluded with a Larry Young classic work out tune
– Talking About J.C., which was performed sans Mr. Ries contributions.
Mr. Oswanski was rollicking and my scrawled note simply
read, genius. Mr.
Froman got to show off a bit on this tune and what a delight of
controlled substantive phrasing he was!
Great rolls, fills and trading of phrases with his musical
I cursed the hand of fate which necessitated my having to
depart before the second set, due to an early morning obligation
the next day, for this was one of the most enjoyable musical
experiences I’ve had the pleasure of attending for quite some
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