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November 2002

Brooke Sofferman featuring Jerry Bergonzi
The Green Between
Summit

Young pups are supposed to take chances, so it's no surprise that Brooke Sofferman's sextet climbs onto the high wire without a safety net on The Green Between (Summit). Like many young drummers these days, Sofferman writes, arranges and produces, and he's assembled a group capable of fusing his tunes with the energy required. Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is the outstanding soloist here. His big, muscular sound is highlighted on the title track and the layered "Cut It Back to Half, Jack." Guitarist Norm Zocher plugs in and turns it up on the pounding "Cement Truck Blues," and bassist Thomson Kneeland plays triple stops and trades choruses with the leader on "Mt Desert Isle." There's also an ethereal, floating "Sunbird" and a wordless lullaby from Abby Aronson on "Zoe Moon." Sofferman's best playing occurs during "Crownestula," when he alternates between a 3/2 clave and straightahead 4/4. His drum solo on this song makes me wonder: Is it overdubbed or does this guy have as many arms as Vishnu?

Originally published in November 2002
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