Reid Anderson: Prehensile Dream
Reid Anderson (bass)
The Vastness of Space (Fresh Sound New Talent 096)
Reid Anderson (bass),
Andrew D’Angelo (alto sax, clarinet), Bill McHenry (tenor sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Marlon Browden (drums).
Composed by Reid Anderson.
Recorded: New York, March 2000
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
It's easy to overlook Reid Anderson in The Bad Plus. Ethan Iverson is most often the lead voice, both with his piano on the bandstand and with his historian-level knowledge of jazz history and culture, as evidenced on the Bad Plus blog, Do the Math, as well as right here on jazz.com. Drummer Dave King often steps into the leading role himself with his undeniable talents that produce a contentious, valiantly twisted rhythmic approach. To no one's surprise, bassist Anderson is the essential musical glue, but like his fellow modern-jazz-trio bassist Chris Wood (of Medeski Martin & Wood fame), he offers a bit more than usual. Anderson is highly accomplished in multiple stylistic arenas and is often the melodic center of the group as well as its harmonic foundation.
Judging from Reid Anderson's material as a leader, he also might very well be the strongest composer of the three. While Anderson's two previous records feature fine playing from Iverson and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, it's especially interesting to hear Anderson without any of his Bad Plus mates on this 2000 release. Of special note on this pianoless album is "Prehensile Dream," a tune that reappears as the opening track to The Bad Plus's 2005 Suspicious Activity.
Saxophonists Andrew D'Angelo and Bill McHenry and guitarist Ben Monder attack Anderson's compositions with great assurance throughout, providing collective moments of restrained beauty and extreme blowing. The saxophonists are the stars here, starting out whispering the lilting Anderson melody and slowly building into a moving, breathing duel. As the intensity builds, quick bursts of improvisation are juggled with an insistence on keeping the uncomplicated composition front and center.
Reviewer: Eric Novod