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October 2000

Rich Perry Quartet
So in Love
SteepleChase

On So in Love Perry's playing is no-nonsense. He thrives on stretching out over lines that come with harmonic challenges. The trio supporting him on this late 1997 session-pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Billy Drummond and bassist Peter Washington-share the same no-nonsense approach. The trio constantly reharmonizes tunes, flirts with atonality and takes liberties with percussive phrases but remains rooted in the tunes' tonal and rhythmic centers.
All four are stellar soloists. Perry has an elegant sound-hard swinging, yet never guttural, somewhat reminiscent of Al Cohn. He builds tremendous momentum on "Eiderdown," shows his sensitive side on the Ron Carter original, "Little Waltz" and becomes the subtle romantic on "My Foolish Heart." Rosnes is an incredibly focused, highly inventive soloist, though she never intrudes when she comps. She knows how to build an inner climax and how to let you down gently. Her finest moments come on "In Your Own Sweet Way," a Brubeck gem that offers jazz players interesting, unexpected changes.
So in Love is a beautifully engineered session. Josiah Gluck captured the combo at its interactive best, and each soloist should be flattered by his attention to individual sonority.

Originally published in October 2000
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