Not half as well known as he should be, Edwards is a Delta- born jazz saxophonist who impresses for his post-bop inventiveness and his predisposition to the blues. Allowed a rare feature date, he gives lessons in how to delve into a melody for meaning and then express the resulting revelations in down-home terms-relish the poetic beauty of the title song. Tom Waits, an original, molds his vocal excesses into triumphant blues declarations in Edwards's stunning composition "I'm Not Your Fool Anymore." Indeed.
No composer looms over modern jazz quite like Johann Sebastian Bach, whose harmonic rigour seems to have provided the basis for bebop and all that followed. Listen to the endlessly mutating semiquavers tumbling from Charlie Parker’s saxophone and it could be the top line of a Bach fantasia; the jolting cycle of chords in John Coltrane’s Giant Steps could come straight from a Bach fugue and Bach’s contrapuntal techniques crop up in countless jazz pianists, from Bill Evans to Nina Simone. Bach certainly casts a long shadow over US pianist Brad Mehldau: even when he’s gently mutilating pieces by Radiohead, Nick Drake or the Beatles, he sounds like Glenn Gould ripping into the Goldberg Variations. Which is why it comes as no surprise to see Mehldau recording an entire album inspired by Bach. However, this is not a jazz album. Instead of riffing on Bach themes, as the likes of Jacques Loussier or the Modern Jazz Quartet have done in the past, After Bach sees Mehldau using Bach’s methodology. Mehldau plays five of Bach’s canonic 48 Preludes and Fugues, each followed by his own modern 21st-century response.
For Roy Goodman's various roles in the project assume Toad-like proportions. Founder of the Brandenburg Consort, Goodman is not at all content merely to direct these performances but also plays solo violin, violino piccolo and viola as well as penning lively accompanying notes. Well, readers may rest assured that I'm no Badger and am inclined to applaud Goodman's diversity of talent rather than otherwise.
The present release is the second solo album of the young German guitarist Elise Neumann. She chose to combine two seemingly different composers on this album: J.S. Bach and Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco. While at first one might have difficulty drawing a connection between the two composers, they are alike in their compositional forms. Like J.S. Bach, Castelnuevo-Tedesco wrote music in the form of the suite, but his musical ideas are completely different. Elise Neumann plays with her acclaimed warm and soulful tone on a rare instrument built by the luthier Daniel Friederich in 1969. On this recording, instrument and player form a perfect team, establishing a most natural, effortless and deeply musical interpretation of these well-known works.