By Bobby Reed | Published March 2018
Last Things Last, the follow-up to Greg Cordez’s 2015 quintet album, Paper Crane, finds the bassist/composer working with an entirely different band this time around. His gifted cohort includes Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Michael Blake (tenor saxophone), Steve Cardenas (guitar) and Allison Miller (drums). All these musicians are brilliant improvisers, and as this album illustrates, all are sensitive listeners who react to the musical moment, generously contribute to the overall vibe and then step out of the way, without grandstanding.
Cordez not only had the good taste to hire Cardenas, but he also had the good sense to turn the guitarist loose to sculpt gorgeous, clean lines that add flair to the regal tune “Figlock.” The teamwork of Knuffke and Blake is the cornerstone to “Low Winter Sun,” on which the musicians weave in and out of unison riffs and compelling individual statements. On the spare closer, “Junebug,” Cardenas demonstrates just how powerful a delicate, simple line can be. Ben Allison’s tasteful production makes this album a gem that will appeal to longtime jazz fans, as well as listeners who might be new to the genre.