When I received this, I thought "Whoa! Is this the guy who released the old Free Fall LP way back in the late 70s?" and, yep, it sure is. That was the Quint's only release, and Sussman managed to gather most of the old group back together for this new studio gig well over 30 years later…and look at the line-up: Randy Brecker on trumpet & flugelhorn, Jerry Bergonzi on tenor sax, Mike Richmond on bass, Jeff Williams on drums, with Mike Stern and guitar sitting in on one cut (one very cool cut, Mike's Blues, a mutant 70s/00s gig). Sussman's a pianist and synth player somewhat a la Bob James, and I always really dug his horn charts. He rarely takes the foreground, but, man, the guy knows how to surround himself and then some. Music like this is why I listen to Doc Severinson, Maynard Ferguson, Steps Ahead, and even some Weather Report shows up amid cabaret airs and…well, one never knows quite what to expect. That was what made Free Fall such a well acclaimed slab back in the day, and Sussman's done nothing but mature since then.
As might be expected, Brecker takes the lion's share of front work with that melodious a-bit-New-Orleans / a-bit-chamber / a-bit-be-bop / a-lotta-Brecker presence he's known for, Sussman all the while pulling up backdrops behind him, especially evident in Alone Together. There are almost always three levels in all the cuts in Continuum: rhythm section, lead work, and Sussman's environments in the middle of both. Then he takes the foreground and everyone drops back to let his fingers dance on the keys with a little Evans, a bit of Peterson, some of that James I mentioned, and, of course, Richard himself. When Brecker floats back in on Alone, the shift in dynamics is breathtaking, and then Sussman abstracts the intro to his solo The Wayfarer before getting all cathedralesque. You know you're not only in good hands but ready for an adventure into artistic originality and vibrancy with heady depth. Good long cuts, too. Check the times below. This isn't just music, it's therapy for the thinking jazz fan.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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