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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bridge 61 - Journal

Bridge 61 is one of the musical highlights of 2006, Vandermark on sax and clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Nate McBride on bass and Tim Daisy on drums. McBride is also the bass player of Spaceways Inc., and Tim Daisy is the drummer of the Vandermark 5. Despite his incredible output of albums, Vandermark manages to keep the attention up. The pieces on this album are all composed but with room for improvisation, the search for new effects and sound combinations. Styles differ from more hesitant work, such as in Superleggera, over a more bop-oriented approach in Atlas, to funk with Nothing's Open, with McBride on electric bass. The sax and the clarinet search for each other, complement each other, respect each other. On the beautiful and slow "29 Miles of Black Snow", McBride brings a long solo, tenderly joined by Vandermark and Stein. On "A=A/b=b bass and clarinet start with a strong rhythmic intro, to be replaced after approx 4 minutes by drums and baritone sax : the same theme, different music. The song is closed by a powerful unisono line of the whole band. On the last piece, "Shatter", which is dedicated to guitar player Sonny Sharrok, McBride plays both distorted and non-distorted bass guitar, bringing noise rock elements, yet remaining composed and fresh. The band manages to keep up the high level of composition and performance throughout the album. Recommended.