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One Hopeful Day

KIND OF BLUE 10019 [64:03]




On the street where you live (Lerner, Lowe) [9:03]
Bemsha Swing (Monk) [6:16]
Innerspace (Corea) [6:50]
One hopeful day (Soskin) [7:39]
Step lively (Soskin) [6:52] *
It’s easy to remember (Rodgers, Hart) [4:56]
End of a love affair (Redding) [6:39]
Strive (Soskin) [8:08] *
Pensativa (Fischer) [7:32]
Chris Potter (tenor and soprano sax)
Mark Soskin (piano)
John Patitucci (bass)
Bill Stewart (drums)
* John Abercrombie (guitar)
Systems Two Recording Studio, New York, 13-14 December 2006.

Now in his fifties, Soskin is probably best known for his lengthy stint (ten years? fifteen years?) with the great Sonny Rollins. But he has played and recorded with many other significant musicians too – they include Sheila Jordan, Bobby Watson, Joe Henderson, Slide Hampton, George Russell and Mark Murphy. Soskin is a pianist of great facility, his lines long and flowing at times; there are touches that make one think, irresistibly, of Bill Evans, but Soskin isn’t confined by such models. Very obviously a highly accomplished musician, Soskin’s merits as a soloist are not so immediately obvious. They lie more in detail than in the grand sweep; he is not a showy or especially extrovert player and he needs to be listened to carefully if one is to appreciate his work, especially harmonically.

Here he is supported by a fine bass and drum partnership in Patitucci and Stewart, crisp, hard-driving yet sensitive. Patitucci, in particular, underpins the whole session quite admirably. At the forefront is Chris Potter, on notably good form, whether driving hard or gorgeously lyrical on a ballad such as ‘One hopeful day’.

The basic quartet is joined on two tracks by John Abercrombie, who makes his presence felt, while being wholly integrated into the sound of the group.

The repertoire is well chosen, a mix of standards (e.g. ‘On the street where you live’), jazz standards (such as ‘Bemsha Swing’) and Soskin originals. All five musicians sound relaxed and comfortable with one another; there’s a real sense of musical dialogue, not least in the interplay between the soprano of Potter, the piano of Soskin and the guitar of Abercombie on ‘Strive’.

Soskin’s own very best work as a soloist – he is uniformly accomplished as an accompanist – perhaps comes on the closing track. Soskin’s own musical personality has more than a little in common with that of Claire Fischer and Soskin’s unaccompanied interpretation of Fischer’s ‘Pensativa’ is unalloyed delight.

This isn’t an album of which any claims for great originality can be made. But what can – and should – be said is that it is sophisticated music making by five musicians utterly at home in the idiom of the modern jazz mainstream, an hour of subtle and (sometimes) passionate music.

Glyn Pursglove


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