Tim Kuhl: Versus




Tim Kuhl (drums)


Ghost (WJF Records 003)

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Tim Kuhl (drums),

Rick Parker (trombone), JC Kuhl (tenor sax), Mark Aanderud (piano), Nir Felder (guitar), Jeff Reed (bass)


Composed by Tim Kuhl


Recorded: Richmond, VA, September 5, 2007


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Tim Kuhl has been leading his jazz group in New York for about three years, when he's not playing drums for a touring rock n' roll band called The Izzys. The Kuhl jazz group's major influence is Wayne Shorter, which is noticeable in both Kuhl's composing style and the post-bop textures and voicings generated when the ensemble is either playing melodies or collectively improvising. Ghost's personnel are listed alphabetically, which is totally understandable because every band member appears to be an impressive soloist and an integral part of the distinctive, communal whole. The group's makeup has changed since this recording, but hopefully Kuhl has been able to maintain the high performance level exhibited on this debut release.

The opening tune, "Versus," is a brooding, staccato theme, deceptively simple (think of Shorter's "E.S.P."), which the group plays repeatedly with the support of Tim Kuhl's befitting accents and fills. A series of excellent solos ensues, beginning with trombonist Parker, who possesses a full-bodied sound and executes his phrases and runs with great logic and flawless technique. JC Kuhl's dry-toned tenor is next, displaying exceptional command and assured inventiveness. However, it's guitarist Felder's adventurous closing improv that is the highlight of this track, as he starts ruminatively out-of-tempo before soaring off with fleet, convoluted single-note lines that lead to a provocative, distortion-laden climax. Felder, currently playing with Greg Osby, is a real find, remindful of both John Abercrombie and Kurt Rosenwinkel. The theme's reprise only reinforces the seductive nature of this Tim Kuhl composition.

Reviewer: Scott Albin


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