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Ryan Keberle & The Double Quartet | Heavy Dreaming – [Alternate Side Records, 2010]

Ryan Keberle - Heavy Dreaming

Jazz trombonists Ryan Keberle is regarded one of the most sought after and accomplish musicians on the New York jazz scene. Since his arrival to the Big Apple, he’s caught the attention of folks like Grammy Winning composer-arranger Maria Schneider. Her admiration for the talented artist is eloquently expressed here: “Ryan Keberle is one of the truly great musicians coming up and turning heads. He has much to say as both a player and writer. This individual whose career I will take enormous pleasure in watching bloom.”

Given the immensity of Ryan’s accolades, it was inevitable that he score “Heavy Dreaming” with intensity he garnered from the various styles of music he participated in over the years. Now, to achieve his goal Keberle called on a cast of A-list players like the remarkable Frank Kimbrough on piano, Matt Brewer plays bass, Eric Doob on drums, with a killer brass section featuring Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Marshall Gilkes also on trombone, John Clark on French horn and Marcus Rojas on tuba to round out The Double Quartet to record this incomparable collection of songs on Alternate Side Records.

The spirit of Keberle quietly sits in the midst of these ten impeccable compositions, as the forward-thinking 2001 grad of the Manhattan School of Music wrote seven and arranged all the compositions on this engaging session ready to be exhaled throughout this neatly packaged gem titled “Heavy Dreaming.”

From the start, it’s apparent to me these guys armed and ready to navigate efficiently with endearing openness through the lush melodies on the breezy “If You Want.” The following mid-tempo gem speaks fluently with improvised tones and accenting rhythms on “One Thought at a Time,” which complements the opening track to near perfection. Keberle and the band interlace their voices to fuse a sharp and brisk tonality that gels into one fluid listener-friendly sound. “Heavy Dreaming, Part I,” the title track is the perfect word picture as it sounds exactly as it’s titled. On the first spin, the tune begins with lush tones and unspoiled textures which immediately envelopes you into a dreamlike state. Soon thereafter, the group occupies a cornerstone of this soundscape reminiscent of mesmeric soundtrack that I’ve met before. Meanwhile, Keberle adjusts his poetic scope in descriptive nuances by combining them into an attractive blend on “Part II” of Heavy Dreaming which engulfs you as a listener.

The bluesy “I Like Sunrise,” was originally composed by the legendary Duke Ellington. On this luminous piece, Keberle extends his voice to articulate and shape this classic gem without losing its effectiveness. Bravo! Once again, Keberle brilliantly stays on course penning a tune called “The Slope of a Blues.” This tasty gem roars in volume as the ensemble systematically bounces off each another’s immeasurable ability to play jazz.

Once again, Keberle switches gears transmitting his voice in a sober mode and scores “Early Mourning.” Imagine this, … the aroma of a fresh cup coffee feels the air as the Sunday edition newspaper awaits you. Soon thereafter, your soul-mate beckons you in conversation about ongoing activities that’s scheduled for the day. In the meantime, you begin to hear the sweet timbre of this song quietly influences the moment by transforming you into reflective mood. Therefore, providing you peaceful atmosphere before you step out to engage in your daily routine. Just musing, it’s sounds like this that takes me into the simplicity of quietude!

Subsequently, Keberle instinctively sweetens up this intricate palette of music with Gershwin’s “Our Love is Here to Stay.” Absolutely pure genius … the interplay here is clearly superb as their focal point blends jazz in it’s purist form and swing to balance the camaraderie of these charismatic players! The heat of “Coolant” brews slowly to define its position at the ninth spot. Fundamentally, “Coolant” is definitely hip as it’s embodied with the qualities of depth, character, distinction, and coolness and the agility usually glued to the fabric of jazz while allowing ample room for this fabulous ensemble to bend and stretch their muscles as soloists.

Finally, Keberle and the crew wraps up the set with a fresh interpretation of a Lennon & McCartney tune called “Mother Nature’s Son.” What a joy, I find “Heavy Dreaming” and interesting exploration! Being the consummate musician/composer he is, Keberle preserves this portrait of jazz intelligently by spanning his thoughts through assorted streams of contemporary rhythms, enticing melodies, and fundamentally sustaining his improvisation voice along the way. Therefore, combining these treasured ingredients Keberle and company effectively blends them into a compelling tapestry of accessible songs to savor more, more and more with each spin. Recommended: –-Rob Young

At your leisure, please check out boneman Ryan Keberle at http://www.ryankeberle.com/