Thank God pianist Larry Gelb chose Cameron Brown to play bass on The Love Song of Ian Ops 'cause the guy lays out a uniquely shifting ground floor allowing the keyboardist to wander where he will but never lose perspective. Michael Stephans plays drums all around the pair, switching the traps from the recesses to mid-ground in order to define peripheries, but, man, that Brown! On the intro title cut alone, I was hypno-tranced. And thank that same God guy that Gelb carries the Romantic tradition into jazz, presenting a floridly pastoralic sense that only a true jazzbo could come up with. Such a perspective has suffered too much at the hands of George Winston and ilk, was becoming an endangered species, but here gets re-established. Not that Gelb sets up house and remains there—Fried Cicadas trots in a Brubeck/Guaraldi approach, for one—but it is his home base, as Laura Morante clearly demonstrates.
There, too, the bass opens the song up even wider than the airy vistas the piano creates. Gelb calls Brown's tone "big" and he's exactly right. His are some of the widest bass notes I've ever heard, fat and often almost borderless, flowing off the strings. Then Love Walked In starts out deceptively, as a down-tempo take that suddenly leaps up and swings. And here drummer Stephans gets into the thick of things, switching between sticks and brushes as Gelb angularizes his inflections half way through. The etude Luiza takes matters down into a quiet restrained affair preceding the semi-boppy Suddenly It's Spring bringing the disc to a close in a ramped-up foxtrotty mode barefootin' through the promenade. Pay careful attention, though, to that very first cut, the title track, as it sets the tone for everything.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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