Marco Cangiano, New York City Jazz Record
Following his successful 2014 solo piano debut, Sam Javitch has joined forces with bassist Adrian Moring, drummer Matt Niedbalski and saxophonist Rich Perry to produce a well-balanced CD. The inclusion of the latter, known to jazz aficionados but underrated for larger audiences, is confirmation of Javitch’s excellent taste. This is reflected in a set of original compositions where medium tempos, postbop and modal moods prevail. Contrary to his virtuoso debut, Javitch is more subdued, providing a subtle support to Perry’s narrative. Moring and Niedbalski share Javitch’s understatement: musicianship not showmanship, of the highest quality. Perry retains an uncanny ability for telling stories in his solos along with a capacity to deconstruct a piece and make it his own.
People and Places starts off with “The Pitch to Rich”, an engaging medium-fast blues disclosing right from the bat (pun intended) the stature of Perry as an imaginative soloist. “Honin Myo” is an uplifting ode to Javitch’s Buddhist friend Sash, with a beautifully constructed solo by Perry in which each phrase sounds like turning the page of an engaging novel; Niedbalski’s light touch is particularly effective. “Lifted” has an unaccompanied gospel-inspired piano introduction leading to a melancholy melody dedicated to Mulgrew Miller; Perry’s solo is a pearl in the way it builds slowly one note at the time. “New Operating System” verges on the ballad side, Perry’s natural playground, but Javitch also delivers a heartfelt solo. “Level Up” concludes on a high note a very pleasant recording suggesting more to come from Javitch.
This project is at Blue Note Nov. 18th.