Monday, April 20, 2015

Holger Scheidt Group, The Tides of Life

Bassist-composer-bandleader Holger Scheidt makes it pretty clear on the brief liner blurb to his album The Tides of life (Enja 9619 2). A primary influence on the music he writes and performs on the album is the sort of classic modern sound of mid-'60s albums like Nefertiti and Maiden Voyage, the middle-period Blue Notes and the important Miles band of the era.

And so we get six Scheidt compositions as springboards for the group improvisations that follow. The compositions and the soloing reflect a modern update of the classic sound. Holder on bass, Gordon Au on trumpet, Rich Perry on tenor, Victor Gould on piano and Anthony Pinciotti, drums, do not sound like Miles-Shorter-Hancock-Carter-Williams clones, mind you. But they do channel some of that in their playing and the compositions reflect the kind of harmonic-melodic sophistication of the Shorter-Hancock writing style.

For all that there is no real deja vu feeling as much as a feeling of extension into the present. These are excellent, committed artists who have something to say within the classic models. Au on trumpet straddles Miles-Hubbard in his own way, Perry goes beyond Shorter to accommodate a contemporary mainstream approach, Gould has all the harmonic sophistication, touch and intelligent note choice you'd expect, but injects himself too. And the bass-drum rhythm team of Scheidt and Pinciotti strongly anchor the music with real artistry and no slavish attempt to imitate.

The resulting set is a tribute to the bass and composition smarts of Scheidt and a very well-constructed group effort that keeps giving you things to appreciate as many times as you hear it.

Well-done! Very recommended.

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