J. E. R. M., an acronym containing the initial of the first name of each of the members of this quartet, is a Boston-based band that sounds like they have a real ECM jones. A pleasant sound, especially from competent musicians such as these, but like the joke about that other acronym, is this Excessively Cerebral Music? Not necessarily, but there certainly are moments on this disc when I wish they would let things fly a bit more.
The opening track is a pensive, Charles Lloyd-like incantation, followed by "Pleasure Bay," which is not a dramatic shift from the opener in terms of mood, but there is a bit more energy here. "Monkis Vindaloo," from the pen of bassist Jacob William, allows him to display his refined tone. Pianist Michael Beck leads an interesting conversation following William’s brief solo, with some fine points made by drummer Ed Nicholson.
Other standout tracks include reedman Rolf Schloenvogt’s "Wherever You Go," with a Bobo Stenson-like intro by Beck and lush harmonies between the two, and "Wind Dreams," with another fluid intro by bassist William.
Something that is refreshing is to see young and talented musicians taking an interest in a less common vein of jazz such as this. With all the jam jazz and electronica bands out there right now, it’s good to have different directions being pursued. However, this recording being four to five years old by now, I wonder how different they might sound today . . .