Jorge Rossy: Stay There

Jorge Rossy’s work as a drummer has been so celebrated that casual listeners may be unaware of his chops as a multi-instrumentalist. His repertoire of skills includes trumpet and piano, and Stay There further extends his range to vibraphone and marimba. He’s joined for this 10-track excursion by a sterling band that has previously toured as the Jorge Rossy Vibes Quintet: tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Al Foster.

Rossy’s approach to the mallets is as clean and melodically engaged as his drumming. He tackles his solos from a shade behind the beat, giving his lines the subtlest flavoring of tension and drama. The vibraphonist is also the composer of seven of this album’s tracks, his tunes providing his musicians plenty of airy, open ground on which to interact and assert themselves. “Portrait” proceeds from Bernstein’s burnished intro to reverb-heavy Rossy atmospherics and wailing phrases from Turner. Foster guides the malleable dynamics of “Who Knows About Tomorrow” with equal parts lightness of touch and rhythmic force. On “MMMyeah,” the drummer’s tinging cymbals mesh with Weiss’ firm-handed flow to craft a steady-rolling undercurrent for sharp-edged solos from Bernstein and Rossy. Turner’s gift for emotional clarity is spotlighted on the understatedly mysterious “Mark’s Mode,” and the title track’s smooth, shuffling rhythm sets up a Rossy solo that is simultaneously his most straightforward and expressive playing of the album.

Guillermo Klein’s “ArteSano” offers chiming marimba chords, African-inflected support from Foster and a bracing solo by Weiss. “The Newcomer,” composed by Rossy’s sister Mercedes, is a pensive ballad coaxing gently felt statements from Weiss, Bernstein and an especially warm-toned Turner. Foster contributes the breezy “Pauletta,” where Rossy adds glistening accents and Bernstein takes a quietly cheerful solo. The tune’s effect epitomizes the entire album: easily enjoyable music, unimpeachably well played.