Bill_gerhardt-particular_vernacular_span3
October 1997

Bill Gerhardt and Pere Soto
Particular Vernacular
Planet X

Two takes on the striking title composition bookend the eight other compositions in this intriguing and beautifully realized set. Not a standard on the bill of fare, but a variety of approaches to form and musical communication, anchored in a hard-swinging free bop sensibility. The core quartet, fronted by Gerhardt on piano and Soto on guitar, includes Ben Allison on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. Spicing up the mix are Dave Douglas on trumpet and Dave Liebman on soprano sax. The group achieves some memorable ensemble moments on the title track; its reprise follows the climactic performance of "Per Elisa," which builds steadily through its length. Other highlights include Ballard's integral fours on "Twenty-One," and the gut-level blues of "Born Again." Douglas' exuberant energy is always applied to the service of the composition, and Liebman throughout demonstrates his gift for getting to the essence of the situation. The leaders are wonderfully matched as soloists, choosing focused lines often marked by broken rhythms.

Originally published in October 1997
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