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David Ake: Bridges

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No one should ever accuse David Ake of bowing to commercial dictates. Bridges is just the pianist’s third recording in 15 years, yet he doesn’t hype the sterling sextet (he’s with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Peter Epstein, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Mark Ferber) on the plainspoken jacket, and his 11 compositions are all over the stylistic map and dispatched in less than an hour.

As a creative composer, however, Ake is a maverick and a dynamo. The title track is hypnotically spare and repetitive, while “We Do?” begins like one of those jive-bop rave-ups from the salad days of Dizzy Gillespie, moves outside with the swirl-and-sustain of Ornette, then returns to bop. “Year in Review” leads with a Mingus-ian bass canter from Colley (who gets as much solo time as anyone except Alessi) before Ake finally unleashes the horns. “Waterfront” is a neo-stride piano solo and the aptly named “Light Bright” a piano-alto duet. More of everything, please, and much sooner next time.

Originally Published