By Cree McCree | Published March 2020
This year marks Posi-Tone’s 25th year of exploring new frontiers of jazz.
Label founder and producer Marc Free kicks off the celebration with Works For Me, one of his curated collectives of emerging talent, that mixes and matches members’ distinctive voices in sometimes fresh and surprising ways.
“Jinrikisha,” the opening track, sets the stage with Tony Davis’ lyrical guitar voicings standing in for the kinetic bursts of Kenny Dorham’s trumpet on Joe Henderson’s 1963 bop classic. It’s an interesting idea that doesn’t really deliver. Far more successful is the lively give-and-take between Alexa Tarantino’s dynamic alto saxophone and Caili O’Doherty’s more cerebral keys, which puts a new spin on Henderson’s dialogue with McCoy Tyner.
Except for the final track, a swingin’ cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love” that showcases some of Davis’ most innovative work, the other tunes are original compositions that include several standouts.
“Reach Within,” an O’Doherty composition that showcases some of the collective’s most expressive ensemble work, anchors the album. Tarantino’s sprightly soprano and Joe Strasser’s playful hi-hat syncopation spice up “Salt And Vinegar,” another O’Doherty piece. And Adi Meyerson’s rich, evocative bass opens her own “Your Smile (Keeps Me Sane),” a lyrical meditation shadowed by minor-key melancholia that lingers before drifting off into space with a guitar outro.
Reach Within: Jinrikisha; Mr. M; Lake Sebago; Le’Var; Reach Within; El Gran Birane; Your Smile (Keeps Me Sane); Salt And Vinegar; Send One Your Love. (50:16)
Personnel: Alexa Tarantino, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto flute; Tony Davis, guitar; Caili O’Doherty, piano; Adi Meyerson, bass; Joe Strasser, drums.