By Bill Milkowski | Published June 2017
The veteran guitarist, whose penchant for crisply executed, intricate stop-time lines has served him well in the bands of Wayne Shorter, Don Byron, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman and the experimental fusion collective Lost Tribe, brings that same deft quality to bear on his Criss Cross debut. On a pair of originals and similarly demanding heads by Woody Shaw (“Beyond All Limits”), Bobby Hutcherson (“Blues Mind Matter”) and Victor Bailey (“Kid Logic”), the guitarist is joined on some impeccably tight unisons by tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, who blows with muscular authority.
Vibraphonist Bill Ware joins the interactive fray on another Hutcherson tune, the metrically shifting “Farralone,” which morphs from medium-tempo swing to a dense 3/4 conversation between guitar, saxophone and vibes. Harmonica ace Grégoire Maret guests on a reinvention of Toots Thielemans’ classic “Bluesette,” which is set in 4/4 instead of 3/4 time. Gilmore and Maret engage in some spirited exchanges at the end of this jazz standard.
The core quintet of Gilmore, Shim, esteemed young pianist Victor Gould (who shines on “Blues Mind Matter”) and the stellar rhythm tandem of bassist Carlo DeRosa and drummer E.J. Strickland explore the rubato space of Annette Peacock’s 1965 composition “Both.” And they deliver a lovely treatment of Hermeto Pascoal’s achingly beautiful “Nem Un Talvez,” with the leader caressing each note on acoustic guitar. For someone with such blazing chops on the instrument, Gilmore’s restraint on that haunting melody is positively Zen-like. It’s just one of the many colors he conjures up on this superb outing.
Transitions: End Of Daze; Beyond All Limits; Blues Mind Matter; Bluesette; Both; Spontanuity; Kid Logic; Farralone; Nem Un Talvez. (56:10)
Personnel: David Gilmore, guitar; Mark Shim, tenor saxophone; Victor Gould, piano; Carlo DeRosa, bass; E.J. Stickland, drums; Grégoire Maret, harmonica (4); Bill Ware, vibraphone (8).