John Escreet | Posi-Tone Records (2008)
By Elliott Simon
It is uplifting when a release reveals that there is still compositional fire in the heads, hearts and instruments of the children of freedom and grandchildren of bop. British pianist John Escreet is the latest very pleasant surprise from this generation of 20-somethings—one who not only has technical ability but also compositional inventiveness and stylistic relevance. Joining him on an intense session are kindred players that he has hooked up with in the two short years he has been in New York. The Consequences of all this are magnificently displayed on this recent offering.
While Escreet has a clear understanding of bop and free, he also brings with him a gritty funkiness that includes judicious use of the Rhodes. Equally funky kudos though should go to a killer horn section of altoist David Binney and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, the former also adding a touch of electronics to give the program a slight back-to-the- future feel. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey is amazing in his versatility and the delightfully economical crispness of his approach as is bassist Matt Brewer, who impresses with both fingers and bow.
“The Suite of Consequence,” running 30 minutes in length and consisting of three movements, is at the heart of this session. It is a piece that takes some active listening in order to appreciate its panoramic style and scope. This is followed by the somewhat shorter “Wayne’s World,” with inspired Binney alto work over powerful ensemble playing, a deliciously funky “Dilemma” and the clever representation of attaining the twilight that is “Somewhere Between Dreaming and Sleeping.” A touching solo performance of Andrew Hill’s “No Doubt” closes things out beautifully with a contrasting purity that is the perfect resolution to a powerful program.
Track listing: The Suite Of Consequence – Movement I; The Suite Of Consequence – Movement II; The Suite Of Consequence – Movement III; Wayne’s World; Dilemma; Somewhere Between Dreaming And Sleeping; No Doubt.
Personnel: John Escreet: piano, Fender Rhodes; David Binney: alto saxophone, electronics; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Matt Brewer: double-bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.