By Brian Zimmerman | Published September 2017
In nature, as in music, it’s often the case that the widest, most expansive spaces can inspire the deepest moments of self-reflection. Think of the serenity that washes over the body as one looks into the depths of the ocean, or onto a vast mountain range or, in the case of guitarist Jesse Lewis and bassist Ike Sturm’s new collaboration, across an endless field. It’s that sensation of awe-inspired tranquility that guides the music on this disc, one of distant horizons and airy, windswept melodies. Stylistically, it draws equally from genres as diverse as folk, jazz, indie rock, contemporary classical and even ambient sound. But elements of nature are clearly an influence, too, as the duo harness a palette of sounds that are refreshingly organic in this age of industrialization: rain-like shakers on opening track “Unending Season,” primal wordless vocals on “A Run Through The Woods” and soft, celestial synths on the Americana ballad “Daybreak In Canyonland.”
On Endless Field, Lewis and Sturm are joined by a circle of like-minded musicians who add depth and vitality to the duo’s compositional vision. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin is characteristically full-throated and purposeful on “Supermoon,” emitting long, bell-like tones in moments of calm and throttling up the rhythmic complexity as the song’s momentum builds. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is by turns regal and mysterious on the anthemic “Airglow,” hitting stratospheric high notes near the song’s peak-of-the-mountain climax. And pianist Fabian Almazan and vibraphonist Chris Dingman enrobe the music in a cool, soothing mist.
Endless Field: Undending Season; Ember; Supermoon; A Run Through The Woods At Night; Infinite Cascades; Airglow; A Voice In The Open Wild; Kilde; Dinosaur Dreams; Daybreak In Canyonland; The Curious Fox And The Dear. (43:00)
Personnel: Jesse Lewis, guitar; Ike Sturm, bass; Fabian Almazan, piano; Chris Dingman, vibraphone; Nadje Noordhuis, flugelhorn; Rich Stein, percussion; Misty Ann Sturm, vocals; Donny McCaslin, soprano saxophone (3); Ingrid Jensen, trumpet (6).