* Palmetto label debut features pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Matt Wilson *
“He plays with not just chops and composure, but already a distinct voice: His approach privileges mood and reflectiveness, favoring weaving lines that can be complex but are also concise, without a trace of over-playing or bravado.” – Siddhartha Mitter, Boston Globe
“Exceptional young player… has made an indelible impact on the scene...”-Time Out NY
On Before the Rain (January 18, 2011, Palmetto Records), tenor saxophonist-composer Noah Preminger makes it clear that his widely praised debut album, Dry Bridge Road, was no fluke. His new album, his first for Palmetto Records, is marked by the same sense of adventure and exploration, but even greater lyricism, compositional depth, and group interplay. Working with familiar associates, pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Matt Wilson, Preminger opts for an album of mostly ballad-tempo performances that give everyone in the band the opportunity to delve into some highly nuanced solo and ensemble playing. An album of ballads is not what one usually expects from a young player on his second release. But by defying expectations, Preminger has created one of the most powerfully beautiful discs of the year.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself about what to record next after the success of my first album,” Preminger admits. “But in the end, I had to make the album I wanted to make, not one that I imagined other people thought I should make. At the most basic level, I like pretty melodies, so I decided to make an album of ballads. I wanted to work with some of my favorite musicians, guys I felt comfortable with and who I knew could really make strong musical statements on the material.”
The disc opens with one of Preminger’s prettiest compositions, “K.” Preminger and Kimbrough repeat the haunting theme as Wilson and Herbert create gentle rhythmic friction by playing at a different tempo. The multi-layered arrangement and evocative power of the tune hints at the complexities and beauties to come. Kimbrough’s “Quickening,” a dedication to the late Dewey Redman, features a solo from the twenty-four year-old saxophonist that displays the deepening maturity of his approach. It’s a marvelously constructed improvisation, lucid and well paced, and unfailingly lyrical. Preminger’s “Abreaction” solo is full of odd twists, asymmetric phrases, unusual spacings and note placements that reinforce the pulsing push-pull of the rhythm section. “Toy Dance” finds him engaged in sleight-of-hand interactions with the group, disappearing into the background, then springing into the foreground, displaying an elastic swing that meshes with the band in unexpected ways. Preminger’s exquisite control of the tenor’s upper register yields some poignant moments during his solo on “Today Is Tuesday.” Preminger takes the achingly tender “Jamie” at a snail’s pace tempo, but sustains interest with his finely honed tone and a feeling of lyrical suspense. It’s a subtle gem on an album marked by refinement and nuance.
The young tenor master works with a band of profound imagination and almost telepathic sympathy. The slow tempos seem to open them up and fuel their creativity. Preminger and pianist Kimbrough, one of his most frequent collaborators, have developed a deep chemistry. The veteran keyboardist’s sensitive touch, rich chords, and melodic accompaniment seem a perfect match for Preminger’s explorations. Kimbrough’s moonlit solo on “Today Is Tuesday” and his inventive, playful solo on “Quickening” are album highlights. Hebert is an alert and responsive ensemble player, working closely with Preminger and Kimbrough on the opening moments of “Where or When” and with Wilson and Preminger on “Abreacton.” His solo on “Quickening” is a quietly virtuosic gem. Wilson proves to be one of the best ballad drummers around today on “Until the Real Thing Comes Along,” but he also maintains as sense of swing and momentum on the tunes with a free pulse underlying them, such as “Abreaction.” Throughout the album, the quartet works brilliantly as a unit, sustaining the pensive mood of “November,” and fearlessly taking the kinds of risks that only the most closely attuned bands can take as they explore “Abreaction” and “Toy Dance.”
Preminger’s recording debut, Dry Bridge Road (Nowt Records) was one of the most widely hailed albums of 2008, earning a Best Debut of the Year nod from by Village Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll, and Top 10 album of the year honors in more than a dozen other publications, including JazzTimes, The Nation, and Stereophile. “Preminger seems to have arrived on the scene fully formed, with incisive musical instincts, a distinctive personal sound, and an ability to write great tunes” enthused Jazz Review. Since moving to New York after graduating from New England Conservatory in 2008, Preminger has become a regular fixture in the city’s clubs. He appears regularly with Cecil McBee’s Transcend quartet, the John McNeil Group, and the Rob Garcia quartet. His trio with Hebert and Wilson toured Australia in the spring of 2010.
On Before the Rain, Noah Preminger took a chance and defied expectations for his sophomore release. But it’s paid off handsomely. The tempos may never rise above medium, but the creativity and passion remain high.
..:: Source: BKMusic PR ::..