The liner notes to Bill Moring's new effort Way Out East
include a quote by guitarist John Hart: "This is a jazz record; this ain't no bulls**t." There's probably not a better way to describe this high-energy, mostly free-blown collection of tunes by the piano-less quartet anchored by bassist Moring and propelled by ex-Mingus alumnus and trumpeter Jack Walrath.
The opening tune by Walrath, "Ornettology," pretty much sets the pace of this CD, with a frenetic melody line and perpetual motion soloing. "Cave Canem," also by Walrath, guides the band into a funky Latin feel, with good solos from all the band members. Moring's tune, "I Don't Know Yet," eases the CD's pace a bit but provides a foundation for a nice solo by tenorist Tim Armacost. Armacost's contribution, "Free Ditty," opens with a traditional be-bop line, but true to the title it soon takes on a life of its own.
The CD's two standards include "The Days of Wine And Roses," where the horns in half-time roll the melody out over a double-timing rhythm section which keeps the pedal to the floor throughout the remainder of the tune. In contrast, Gus Arnheim's old chestnut "Sweet and Lovely" gets a slow, bluesy treatment, allowing Walrath to show off a soloing style that is usually not associated with his music.
As listeners, we expect good things to happen when seasoned, talented jazz musicians come together in an unrestrained environment. Way Out East
offers some of the best of both the mainstream and avant-garde jazz worlds in an appealing set of tunes crafted by players who've paid their dues.