Published Nov 26, 2015Making modern jazz together for years, bassist Michael Herring and guitarist Don Scott have done their due diligence: constant practice, getting gigs, writing new music and just keeping their group Peripheral Vision moving ahead. Sheer Tyranny of Will shows the rich payoff for their determination and persistence.
The 11 tunes, all written either by Herring or Scott, are much more than simply solo vehicles for the quartet's stellar musicianship. Multi-section compositions show a maturity of musical thinking: one line melts into a solo that cedes to a new line, sometimes with a counter line or altered bass part. Pieces like "Patina" and the album's title track features ever-changing entrances and exits, shifts in feel and mood. The superb drumming of Nick Fraser is a model of balanced supportive accompaniment and relentless invention. Every accent, every nuance of dynamics, every change of parts' rhythmic structure are met with Fraser's supple responsiveness. Besides his compelling bass lines throughout every track, Herring also solos with a dexterity and muscular tone on driving pieces like "Neurosis and Everyday Life."
To hear the deceptive way "Cement Watchers" gradually unfolds is breathtaking — "Where is this going?" yields to "So cool, how it did that." Tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg is poised and precise during every second of ensemble playing and solo; his fluidity, phrasing and flowing forward motion on pieces like "Wiretap" are album highlights. And Don Scott's shifts from pure, round tone to blistering distortion on the latter tune mean that listeners are kept on their toes. His solos are richly varied, thoughtful and well crafted.
Wherever you are, see this band live if they come to your town. (Peripheral Vision Music)