Greg Cordez has been heard to describe his music as ‘wonky Brooklyn jazz’. He went the whole hog with this album, recording in Brooklyn at Bunker Studios with some of Brooklyn’s most in demand, hardworking musicians. Great move. There’s a slew of remarkable music being produced all around us, locally and nationally let alone transatlantically, but this set would stand out from any crowd.
Cordez forgoes double bass,playing electric, and supplies the tunes. It’s a collection that snaps into a driving groove with Chekov’s Gun and then steadily darkens and broods over the course of the eight originals, finishing with Junebug, a delicate, brief duet between Kirk Knuffke‘s cornet and Steve Cardenas‘ guitar, a kernel of optimism wrapped in the melancholic yearning of the dancing theme.
Chekov’s Gun and Cherry v Des Moines, have a guitar driven rocky edge to them that comes more from Alison Miller’s drums and the riffy bass; Cardenas plays a blinder doing just what’s needed the to add to the momentum and spice the atmosphere. Cordez’s writing gives Michael Blake sax and Knuffke chanting motifs to tweak the ear and space to solo. Knuffke on Chekov’s Gun and Blake on Cherry v Des Moines particularly build on the themes and really fire things up. With Figlock the mood darkens. An anthemic melody builds over the throbbing bass and this time Cardenas takes it out further. Last Things Last has an explicitly country-ish tinge, a swelling melody another emotional solo from Blake, and beautifully balanced reflective flurry from Knuffke. Low Winter Sun slides into an easily flowing groove and skips along. All That Is and Clementine have a looser feel and the group’s vibe ebbs and flows more. Alison Miller is sublime on these pieces, seamlessly inserting racing pulses, colour and momentum . Junebug closes the set with that reflective moment.
Bath based Cordez’s pieces have produced a great performance from this group of musicians who bring life and energy and passion to the music by doing just what’s needed at every moment. It’s beautiful as well as a bit dark.
The distance between Bath and Brooklyn may make it a bit tricky for Greg to do too many gigs with this precise line-up. An outing at The Fringe back in September was sounding great, playing some of this material. It suggested he may have some local partners to do the material justice. Then he had sax man Jack McMurchie, Pete Judge on trumpet and Matt Brown on drums with Steve Banks on guitar. You can catch him again at the BeBop Club on November 24th, this time with Sam Crockatt instead of Pete and Mark Whitlam instead of Matt Brown. The album has been quietly released – you can get it on Bandcamp. There’s a bit more of splash promised in the new year.