"Line on Love"
is the Palmetto Jazz label debut for renowned clarinetist and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich
. This CD is the result of a 2002 European tour with pianist Craig Taborn. This album is as much the work of Ehrlich the composer as Ehrlich the improviser, as all of the compositions on this album are his. The balance of the group on this CD consists of Ehrlich's long-time associates, Michael Formanek on bass and Billy Drummond on drums.
Ehrlich's compositions are influence equally by bebop and avant-garde jazz improvisation and twentieth century classical elements. Ehrlich's melody lines owe a good deal of their structure to his virtuosity and technique as an accomplished modern classical player. He makes use of the considerable talents of his quartet by allowing them plenty of room to improvise within the structure of his compositions.
The title track is an extended, free-feeling piece that gives both Ehrlich and Taborn ample room for explorations. A more traditional be-bop feeling can be found in "Like I Said" and "Julian's Theme", which is carried along briskly by Drummond's stickwork. The classical influence is best represented in the relaxed opening number, "Hymn", which eschews standard hymn form and contains a number of interesting melodic twists. "St. Louis Summer" finds the band approaching a funk groove and Ehrlich's alto work taking on a more relaxed bluesy feeling. Other recent players have used the bass clarinet as an extension of the tenor saxophone, but Ehrlich's playing on the somber "Solace" is dark and foreboding.
If you are a long-time listener to Ehrlich's prolific output as a leader and a sideman, one who appreciates distinctly unique and modern playing and compositions, then you will highly enjoy this album.