Josh Berman: What Can?


What Can?


Josh Berman (cornet)


Old Idea (Delmark DE 588)

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Josh Berman (cornet),

Keefe Jackson (tenor saxophone), Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone), Anton Hatwich (bass), Nori Tanaka (drums)


Composed by Josh Berman


Recorded: June 2007


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

More than eighty years ago Bix Beiderbecke went to Chicago and took the town by storm with his cornet. Today in the same town, Josh Berman adapts the cornet’s warm, mellow tone to a strategy not normally associated with the weapon of choice for original jazz: he searches for elusive notes instead of those plucked straight from a melody and his phrases are much more meticulous and varied.

“What Can?” pushes toward freedom and straddles the line between tonal and atonal, which naturally makes it impossible for Berman to play it too straight, anyway. Before he solos, however, Adasiewicz and then Hatwich stake out their own unique expressions, with Tanaka playing something of a mutated bossa nova beat. When Berman arrives, Tanaka shifts to more choppy rhythms, mixing it up much as Berman does on his horn.

Josh Berman’s creativity in applying an old school instrument into improvised music such as “What Can?” only goes to show that some of the best new ideas originate from old ones.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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