Eremite Records has just released CHERRY BOX. This recording features three players: Marco Eneidi on alto sax, William Parker on bass and Donald Robinson on drums. This recording is excellent. The crux of this recording is to reshape formal musical structure. The way the cuts are set up has a formal structure in itself: the two shortest pieces begin and end the CD; the mid-length pieces run just within the parentheses of the beginning and the end; the longest piece stands smack dab in the middle.
Although I have wondered what "Cherry Box" means and have posed the question as to what it refers to, I am left to use my imagination. If you have a box full of cherries, this is what the contents could be: sour cherries, wild black cherries, or sweet cherries. Guess what? All of those types are on this CD. So not only is this recording reformulating formalism but also it is addressing all the approaches to doing so, both in a technical sense and in the sense that the some of the improvisations are based in classical compositions as well as landmark jazz works.
The sour cherries are Eneidi. His alto sax is inherently sour in tone. Eneidi squeezes the best sour/nasal tones he can so that they become sweet. His talent for playing vibrato is evident; his talent for creating a contrast between split tones and pure tones is evident; his talent for developing a repetitive phrase is evident; his talent for elongating a tune is evident. Of course, this is all happening in duration and is interwoven and essentially done not for the purpose of analysis, but for the purpose of making pure unadulterated music. Eneidi's unique style holds forth in the way that pitches maintain separateness while being integrated all the while through phrasing.
Then, there are the wild black cherries. Parker is a supremely controlled player; he could not have become as inventive as he has without those controls, i.e. creativity does not occur in a boundless arena, a vacuum. Parker¹s playing is persistent, never lets up, is always maintaining the tempo; he often takes the lead, pursuant to tunefulness that is often breathtaking. Parker bows a depth of tone that goes all the way to China; he also seesaws the strings of the bass so as to make one continuous, ever-changing pitch and his pizzicatos are without equal.
The drums as played by Robinson are the sweet cherries; his drumming is delicate, elegant, and can take off arrestingly as in BARBEQUED BRAHMS. His drumming always beautifully bridges with rhythmic content one musical moment to the next. Robinson plays fluidly and even in silence is ever-present. When an ear is turned to focus on his sound, it is there. Tapping, clicking, stroking , steadily, rapidly on a damped snare, on the more deeply resonant toms, on a hissing cymbal. Robinson arrives there and there and there so that the bass or the alto may proceed; never does he overpower the other players.
The identity of these three players is absolute. Each works within his own limits, but their musical personalities allow the music they make to blend into a wonderful mix. That is also the nature of the subject matter of the music as well as its basic, straightforward instrumentation.