East of the Sun and West of 2nd Avenue
Tenorist Rich Perry began a fruitful relationship with Steeplechase more than a decade ago. Pianist Harold Danko and drummer Jeff Hirshfield appeared on that first album as well as on his latest, East of the Sun and West of 2nd Avenue. That long-term collaboration contributes significantly to the success of the present effort. With the sensitive bassist John Hebert added, the quartet is able to interact seemingly telepathically, allowing each person to take chances, knowing that his colleagues will be with him all the way. And while their music falls within the modern mainstream tradition, they find fresh means of executing it, including a rhythmic flexibility in which the beat, although steady (with the exception of one rubato arrangement) is often subtle. Hebert's often rhythmically diverse bass lines are partially responsible. But the soloists' own phrasing, which crosses bar lines and shifts metric accents ingeniously, contributes as well. With his full but soft-edged tone, subtle articulation and impeccable use of dynamics, Perry imbues each of the nine standards in the program with intense feeling. The masterful Danko is an ideal partner.