Wednesday, April 20, 2022

 Time Piece--Gerry Niewood and Timepiece (Horizon/ A&M)

 Niewood, playing flute and soprano saxophone, leads” his group through a series of songs that is somewhere near the progressive bent of ECM recording artists (Gary Burton, Ralph Towner, Jan Hammer, Keith Jarrett, ) and the modernized concept of mainstream jazz (Hubert Laws. Freddie Hubbard, John Klemmer.) If nothing else, the result is one slick package. Niewood's abilities on flute are passable. His style is lyrical and intelligently thought out and shows more imagination than some better-known players such as Herbie Mann and Tim Wiesberg, but he plays it safe too often, hesitant to expand a solo beyond the predictable. I prefer his soprano sax outings, which number only three here. His tone is looser and more confident and Niewood is more willing to take chances, covering wider spaces, with deft acceleration in his lines when needed. The band, comprised of Rick Laird, bass, Ron Davis, drums, Michel Donato, acoustic bass, and Dave Samuels, Vibes, turn in proficient, workman-like performances. Samuel's work on vibes adds immeasurably, especially on two John Abercrombie compositions. “Ralph's Piano Waltz,” and “Timeless.” If Niewood loosened up, he'd be more interesting. Gerry Niewood and Timepiece suffers from stylistic indecision at worst. At best, it'll make great background music while you’re filling out tax form


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