By Robert Ham | Published July 2019
Humility isn’t a quality jazz musicians tend to exhibit, encouraged as they are to show off their chops or push their way into the spotlight with a solo. That’s what makes Jay Anderson’s latest album such a rare and precious thing. The bassist spends the entirety of the liner notes heaping praise upon the players who join him here and those who’ve helped him along the way. His humbleness extends to the performances, and on the pair of solo bass tunes featured here. The title track is dominated by melodic drones and squalls with the main melody bouncing into view with calm restraint. And his take on Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” is serene, making great use of the creak and groan of his instrument. When the rest of his ensemble arrives, Anderson happily resides in the shadows, throwing in details and shadings that bring a sense of wholeness to the sonic picture they’re creating. That’s especially remarkable on “Tennessee Waltz,” a country standard played as a duet with Frank Kimbrough on harmonium. Even as Anderson takes the lead, he finds a way to drift into the ether, comforted by the decades-old melody. In aiming to be little on an album that bears his name, Anderson becomes great.
Deepscape: Deepscape; Shades Of Jazz; Rothko Chapel (5th Movement); Southern Smiles; And So It Goes; Time Of The Barracudas; Sweet And Lovely; Momentum; Witchi-Tai-To; The Mighty Sword; Tennessee Waltz. (60:59)
Personnel: Jay Anderson, bass, Tibetan singing bowl (3); Billy Drewes, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Matt Wilson, drums; Frank Kimbrough, harmonium (3, 9, 11); Rogerio Boccato, percussion (3, 6, 7, 9).