Known for his proficiency as a musician, Richard Sussman is revered among his peers as an accomplished pianist, composer and arranger. On this occasion, he arrives with ?CONTINUUM? his latest album on Origin Records. It?s evident from the onset, Sussman produce a tempting dish extracted from the womb of traditional jazz yet he skillfully unwinds this sinuous palette by sowing multifaceted harmonies and decisive threads of continuity to further establish his esteemed voice in the evolving chasm of modern jazz.
With nine attractive compositions at our disposal Mr. Sussman draws from an immeasurable well of elements past and present to integrate these influences impeccably through his intelligible voicing on these gorgeous compositions is his first studio recording as a leader since ?Free Fall? in 2001.
The session opens with ?Spare Change,? this jewel is dedicated in spirit to the phenomenal Horace Silver. Sussman declares that Silver is one of his heroes, after all if you?ve heard Horace play you?ll understand why this is the perfect choice. On ?Continuum,? Richard surrounds himself with some of the most talented musicians around which include: Randy Brecker, Jerry Bergonzi, Mike Richmond, Jeff Williams and guest appearance by guitarist Mike Stern.
?Meridian? the next piece fits exceptionally well with the opener. Sussman?s exquisite mark, style and approach are significant. His angular voice on piano is woven together with varied definitions sonically provides a descriptive sound that resonates seamlessly through revolving doors on this attentive outing. The next song ?Alone Together? pen by Schwartz and Dietz features the one and only Randy Brecker of the famed Brecker Brothers on flugelhorn produces the right pitch on this luscious standard is a nice addition to this already stimulating collection.
Admittedly I was awe struck while listening to warmth and fluidity this project entails. ?The Wayfarer? features the masterful Sussman as soloist is the pathway to his ambient yet graceful style is another reason why repeated listens are a must.
A hue of lambent phrasings, rhythms and colors are brilliantly constructed by Sussman?s astute voice on ?Crossroads.? At the fifth spot of rotation, this gem is a conduit that widens the pathway for the ensemble to stretch their musicality simultaneously is without question my overall favorite at this point. The bluesy ?Mike?s Blues,? features the extraordinary Mike Stern on guitar. As I expected, the band no doubt slow walks this gem with tailored precision made this piece even more accessible for Stern?s arching solos rocks with intensity.
Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi occupies his horn with pliable tonality on Fred Lacey?s ?Theme For Ernie? is absolutely amazing. This ballad serves an anchor too as many of you may recall John Coltrane?s ?SoulTrane? recording. Meanwhile, the sublime ?It?s Never too Late? is saturated with distinctive and divine melodies is dedicated to Richard?s wife Barbara.
Thrusting forward into the future Sussman consequently reaches back to simulate the tones of his predecessors with ?Continuum? the ascends to launch a unique blend of imposing rhythms and complex improvisation cracks the seal of tradition and energizes these poetic morsels propelled by the unrivaled prowess of this ensemble framed in timeless signatures and impressions is underscored tastefully on this selection.
Incredibly this project lingers with desirous, impassioned and intrepid melodies are essential in this body of music played with a transcendent eloquence. Therefore, this alone is worth the time allotted to listen and absorb this wonderful exploration. Inevitably this inviting journey orchestrated by Richard Sussman is one to applaud. ?Continuum? is an agreeable palette of music that we all can easily appreciate at any given moment of the day.