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Just Beyond by Ed Breazeale Quintet

Drummer Ed Breazeale is that creative artist who wants to get it just right. In the notes on his new CD, Just Beyond, Breazeale says that after he arranged each piece, a question lingered whether there was a concept that was just beyond his reach, whether the message was delivered. "Therefore," he says, "I subjected almost every piece to a series of abstract alterations. After undergoing the alterations, I recomposed or re-arranged each piece" This care shows here in this mixture of originals and standards.

From Chicago, this young drummer plays the local club scene with his group, along with teaching music. His quartet, Jim Gailloreto, tenor saxophone, John Kregor, guitar, Ryan Cohan, piano, takes his ideas and runs. Breazeale’s last-minute tinkering with the numbers seems to show. Take, for example, his treatment of Kurt Weill’s "Speak Low." The start-stop hesitation between guitarist Kregor and drummer Breazeale, before introducing a bossa rhythm exemplifies his talent for getting the arrangement exactly right.

Breazeale’s drumming proves that a drummer/leader doesn’t have to be overpowering. Throughout, he subtly displays his presence, underlining and punctuating each player's performance. In Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "It Might As Well Be Spring," Breazeale starts off with a "giddy-up" tapping on a cow bell. Then Gailloreto comes in with a wailing tenor solo before the leader's brief drum spot turn ends the piece.

In fact, Gailloreto is a standout throughout. In the original, "Contrafrance," he shows his debt to Wayne Shorter, with a style combining free-form and mainstream. At the beginning, the piece suggests the cacophony of a big city street before going into Gailloreto’s soaring solo.

Shorter gets his due with the interesting take on his composition "Footprints," a highlight of the recording. The cut features Breazeale throwing out clusters of drums beats, punctuating Kregor’s guitar interlude and forcefully bringing on Gailloreto’s resounding tenor. A proper finish to the album is Strayhorn’s "Chelsea Bridge." With its slow and mournful dirge-like pace, featuring Kregor's reflecitvely sober guitar.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ed Breazeale Quintet
  • CD Title: Just Beyond
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Ed Breazeale
  • Tracks: Ode for Joe, Contrafarce, Greenpeace, Speak Low, It Might As Wll Be Spring, Fantasy in D, Footprints, Control Yourself, Chelsea Bridge
  • Musicians: Ed Breazeale (drums), John Kregor (guitar), Jim Gailoreto (tenor sax), Larry Kohut (bass), Ryan Cohan (piano)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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