Drew Gress The Sky Inside

Drew Gress The Sky Inside
7
Bassist Drew Gress has performed with a who's who list of contemporary jazz leaders, and is among those leaders himself. But on his first album as a bandleader in five years, Gress brings together a dream team quintet to play his challenging compositions on The Sky Inside. "No Saint" opens the set with tricky interlocking piano-bass figures shared by pianist Craig Taborn, while altoist Tim Berne and trumpeter Ralph Alessi's motivic horn lines yield to strong modernist solos by both players. "Long Story" features Berne firing on all cylinders, launching fiery melodic fragments and sparking interchanges with ever-responsive drummer Tom Rainey, followed by Alessi, who at times echoes the late Woody Shaw. A hymn-like intro to "The Sky Inside" leads to a furious Taborn solo, but the closing horn line seems like just a means to an end, and not a strong statement in and of itself. But the strength of Gress's recording is that each piece has its own identity; there's a new turn on each track. (Pirouet)