A while back, drummer Ferenc Nemeth teamed up with saxist Javier Vercher to emit a very ECM-esque CD, Imaginary Realm (here), moody and free jazzy. Bridges of Souls now links Nemeth up with guitarist Attila László, as well as two L.A. studio standouts: Jimmy Haslip on bass and Russ Ferrante on keyboards. The result is much different from Realm, far more in the way of the fusiony Wave jazz characterized by the ensemble the L.A. guys were involved with while in The Yellowjackets and afterwards (Haslip's also been appearing with a bunch of the MoonJune label artists: Boris Salvodelli, Tohpati, the Holdsworth / Pasqua / Haslip / Wackerman band, etc.). Nemeth and Laslo themselves have likewise appeared with all kinds of first water jazz cats over many years, and this CD appears on Nemeth's own label, Dreamers Collective.
Laslo's been awarded the Gábor Szabó Lifetime Award by the Hungarian Jazz Federation, and he's invented The Absolute Melodic Scale of Attila László, a text featuring a new and much easier way to sing the chromatic scale and to help in sight reading. His work throughout the CD is quite compatible with that of the gent for whom the award was bequeathed: the untouchably cool Gábor Szabó, but that's far from his only influence. Downhill, for instance, exhibits elements of Steve Khan and John Abercrombie, and the delicate Missing You carries inflections of Jan Akkerman's balladics, as Nemeth susurrates percussion beneath, Ferrante mellifluous and restrained, Haslip equally so.
The front spotlight is clearly on László and his Gibson L5 and PRS guitars, but Ferrante manages to get some solos in, and Haslip ratchets up the four-string's verbosity in places. Nemeth is always changing up, It's Already That one of the clear examples, shifting from speed runs to metronomic clacking to rolling undercurrents, sometimes smooth and silky, other times roiling. Where Imaginary Realm had been ECM-esque, Bridges of Souls is CTI oriented, and that more metropolitan modus carries through the entire disc, fusion for the blue collar and coffee-house sets rather than acidheads and progrock hardcores. It also makes for great late-nite driving music under the stars, a warm breeze eddying through the windows, your sweetheart sitting shotgun, Courvoisier waiting to be broached.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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