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Noah Baerman: Patch Kit

Pianist Noah Baerman suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissue. The only reason this is relative to Baerman’s art is that he is consciously using Patch Kit (Lemel) to draw attention to the underrecognized disease, and all proceeds from the album’s sales will go to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation.

Maybe the highest compliment that could be paid to this vibrant stylist is that his playing reveals not an iota of physical discomfort. Backed by the golden rhythm team of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Ben Riley, Baerman exhibits considerable technical ease and melodic aplomb in both his spirited improvisations and his original compositions. Broadminded in his tastes, Baerman takes full advantage of his supporting players, leading them through the charging bop of the “Ko Ko”-inspired “Carob Powder” and dueting with Carter on the free improv “Where’s Norm?” The album’s high point may be a nine-minute arrangement of “We Shall Overcome,” which kicks off with a remarkable Carter solo leading into a drama-filled Baerman statement that builds to a suitably stirring climax.

Originally Published