GORDON BRISKER QUINTET
MY SON JOHN
Saxophone, Tim Hagans-Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Anthony-Bass, Billy Hart-Drums,
Recorded September 2000 N.Y.C.
1. The Open Path
2. Here's Looking At You Kid
3. The Meaning Of The Blues
4. Farewell Princess
6. My Son John
7. Wozzeck's Dilemma
9. You Go To My Head
Gordon Brisker is a veteran of Woody Herman's big band and since leaving
that organisation in 1963 has written arrangements and played for such
leaders as Louie Bellson, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Bobby Shew,
Airto and Jack De Johnette. He has also performed with various Symphony
Orchestras and written charts for such diverse vocalists as James Brown
and Rosemary Clooney. This is his second small group recording for the
Naxos label under his own name.
Whilst reference books describe Brisker's tenor playing as bop-orientated
it has far more of the post-Coltrane influence to its sound and style
in my opinion. There are elements of Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter
also audible in his performances. However, Brisker has developed a personal
style and tone while still acknowledging the legacy owed to his predecessors
and the cross-pollination of his contemporaries. His voice on the tenor
is full yet refined and has a delicacy, when needed, and never seems
forced in its production. The Henderson influence can be heard on the
upper tones and in the legato lines of his solos, which often contain
great and unexpected rhythmic variety played with consummate skill and
audacity. His delivery is clean and lightly articulated with just a
hint of a terminal vibrato.
The tunes, apart from "You Go To My Head" and " The Meaning
Of The Blues" are all originals. "The Open Path" is credited
to pianist Mike Nock.
The overall mood is that of a mid to late sixties Blue Note date. The
delightful "Farewell Princess" could be an escapee from one
of Wayne Shorter's albums from this time. "You Go To My Head"
is given a gentle Latin treatment and then moves to a swing feel for
the middle eight.
The supporting musicians are excellent and both Nock and Hagans contribute
telling solos. The rhythm section functions in that wonderfully understated
driving manner which seems to be a specialty of New York jazz session
I thoroughly enjoyed this disc and look forward with great anticipation
to any future offerings from Gordon Brisker. I am sure that anyone who
likes modern/mainstream jazz will be delighted with this record.
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.