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Dan Pratt Organ Quartet – Toe the Line – Posi-Tone Records PR8059, 59:31 ****:

(Dan Pratt, tenor saxophone; Alan Ferber, trombone; Jared Gold, Hammond B3 Organ;  Mark Ferber, drums)

Dan Pratt has rapidly established himself as a force in the modern jazz movement. In high school, he performed with the Monterey Jazz Festival High School Band, and then attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston. The prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute would also help in developing his performance and composition skills. He has become a fixture in the burgeoning Brooklyn, New York jazz scene, playing with a wide array of accomplished musicians. The Dan Pratt Quartet was formed in 2001.

The latest offering, Toe The Line, is an ambitious, creative step in the maturation of this artist. The nine tacks, including eight original pieces, emphasize the synergy of the quartet, while exploring various sounds, melody and rhythm shifts, and improvisation. The members are able to experiment with different tones and playing styles.

On the opening track, “Houdini”, the drum and organ lay down a groove beat, as the saxophone and trombone play dual lead, and swap solos. There is a sophisticated take on the Ellington-Strayhorn “Star Crossed Lovers” that showcases the two horns in a soft counterpoint, moving into a bluesy ballad, with a whimsical organ background.  Jared Gold’s organ play is featured in many different styles, allowing him to rise to the level of the writing.  He lays down an incandescent solo on the title track, “Toe The Line”, and shows a funky groove feel on “Wanderlust”, and “Minor Procedure”.  Mark Ferber’s drumming is integral in the cohesion of the sound, and his solo on “Uncle Underpants” delivers a ferocious backbeat.

Pratt’s saxophone work is textured on every song. He manages to trade riffs with trombonist, Alan Ferber in a seamless manner. On the hard bop Doppleganger there are energized and smooth trombone solos. The final song, “After”, is a soulful and moody ballad, with a notable saxophone opening solo and church organ accompaniment. The song builds to a harmonious, gospel crescendo that finds the group at its best, again.

TrackList: Houdini; Minor Procedure; Wanderlust; Doppelganger, Star Crossed Lovers; Toe The Line; Stoic; Uncle Underpants; After.

— Robbie Gerson


Written by editor

May 26th, 2010 at 8:49 pm