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Ace by David Eyges Arthur Blythe Abe Speller

Ace, recorded in 2004, represents jazz as it should be - a collaboration. The composer listing, "all music composed by Eyges, Blythe and Speller," reflects David Eyges' emphasis on musical chemistry, interaction and collective improvisation. He describes Ace as "a bit of a gamble." A bit? The trio entered the studio and just let the music flow. The results are compelling.

Eyges' background is unusual. A pioneer jazz cellist, his roots include blues guitar and the 70's loft scene - the free and the traditional. (Incidentally, his 1977 debut album, The Captain, was reissued in 2002.) This is his fourth recording where he blends his inventive cello technique with the vibrant and soulful sound of alto player Arthur Blythe. Their association dates back to 1996,

From the happy, danceable "Ace" to the closing "Parade," suggestive of the Crescent City. we are treated to a rhythmic, edgy, and sometimes solemn, mix of funk, blues, and jazz. Drummer Abe Speller is particularly sensitive to the demands of each composition. He opens "Ace " with drama and then becomes a subtle presence. The communication between the three masters is a joy to hear.

The liner notes suggest that at least three of the compositions originated with Eyges. "Trudy" is a beautifully-bowed and soothing tribute to his mother. His friend and companion is the subject of the slow blues,"Mary," while you'll be drawn into "L.J." by Eyges' figures and the trio's interplay on this remembrance of his father. There's a feeling of mystery about the piece. Whether it's those family tunes or any of the others, including the gentle "Channel," "Gulls", which plays with time, or the funky "All These Years,"it is clear that whatever the source, you are witnessing composition on the spot.

Unfortunately, the label David Eyges founded, MidLantic, is no longer in business due to concerns about the future of the compact disc. Let's hope that he finds a new way to get his remarkable music out to the listening public.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: David Eyges Arthur Blythe Abe Speller
  • CD Title: Ace
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: MidLantic
  • Tracks: Ace, There You Go, All Those Years, Trudy, L. J., Blues for Mary, Channel, Gulls, Waiting for Bob, Parade
  • Musicians: David Eyges (electric cello), Arthur Blythe (alto saxophone), Abe Speller (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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