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August 2008

Sacha Perry
The Third Time Around
Smalls

Among Sacha Perry’s artistic antecedents are Frank Hewitt and Monk, but those comparisons are only for general orientation. Perry sounds like himself, and his third album displays significant growth. Perry’s approach is grounded in history (his “Léa” could have come from a 1940s Broadway musical), but postmodernized by thorny points and jagged edges. His articulation has Hewitt’s hard incisiveness but dissimilar buoyancy. The seven Perry originals here are all tight forms that provoke impulsively creative solos. “Monkey and Dog” is a teetering ditty that Perry unwinds in 10 directions. “Incident at D” is thick and hard, Perry battering it with blunt chords. “Farewell Brother” is a dark, unflinching encounter with sadness.

Bassist Ari Roland embeds into the ensemble lines of intricate elegance. His time is elastic and powerfully motivational, and he may be the best arco soloist in jazz. The solo statements of even the best bassists, arco or pizzicato, often derive their interest from their success in transcending the instrument’s limitations. Roland does not seem to know about those limitations. When he takes over from Perry on “Farewell Brother,” his haunting bowed sonorities deepen and complicate the poignancy.

Drummer Phil Stewart belongs in this trio too. His energy, in waves, pulls even Perry’s blocky piano into its flow.

Originally published in August 2008
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