Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Peter Brendler: Outside the Line

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Peter Brendler’s recent projects include an austere collection of duets with guitarist John Abercrombie and a couple of wild and wooly albums with intrepid saxophonist Jon Irabagon. That broad spectrum made it difficult to guess how the young bassist would shape his debut as a bandleader. Outside the Line answers the question with a two-horn quartet sans piano or guitar.

Normally it’s bad news for a leader-composer when the covers are all better than the originals. But here it is less a problem with the new material and more the virtue of Brendler’s shrewd choices and the quartet’s inspired renditions. Chet Baker’s “Freeway,” most notably performed with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, was one of the more frenetic songs in the cool-jazz school, and Brendler’s similarly instrumented group embarks on a spirited ride with tenor saxophonist Rich Perry and trumpeter Peter Evans pushing the pace both solo and in tandem. The moment you hear Brendler plunk out the iconic bassline of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” against the brushed shuffle-beats from drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, you wonder why the piece isn’t a jazz standard by now. Evans and Perry both take pleasant rubato turns with the melody and refrain. Last but never least is the foursquare boldness of Ornette Coleman’s “Una Muy Bonita,” with the strutting horns and strumming rhythm section at high alert on parallel planes.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published