Drummer/composer Bobby Previte is, like many of his associates in NYC’s cutting-edge jazz/improv scene, not limited to one stylistic bag. His Latin For Travelers band has a soul-jazz fusion feel, he’s done totally free improvisation performances and recordings with Elliott Sharp and John Zorn and led bands of classically-tinged free-bop. If I had to put a handle on his Bump aggregation, I’d call it listener friendly groove-tinged hard bop a la mid-60s Blue Note with some free overtones, yet there’s nothing even faintly retro about this music.
Previte finds his own way to groove (no aping the 60s BN funk), knows his way around a thoughtful, infectious melody - his pieces are never quickly-plotted-out frameworks for blowing. At times his compositional bent recalls George Russell, Dave Brubeck and Benny Golson, but this guy has big ears: he sounds like he’s (fully) digested everything from Stravinsky to surf-rock. "Nice Try" just doesn’t evoke classic jazz balladry a la Stan Getz/Dexter Gordon - it IS a classic jazz ballad, with a genuinely lovely, yearning melody that tenor guy Marty Ehrlich states and expands upon beautifully. Wayne Horvitz’s pensive "Leave Here Now" gene-splices Brubeck and Monk, and Previte’s elegant boogaloo strut "Stingray" features New Orleans rhythms worked in with sharp, propulsive bebop drumming, jiving bass, hearty tenor soaring to the skies and rippling, jousting ‘bone. The cinematic yet bluesy imagines Mingus doing a take-off on Bernard Herrmann - or is it Herrmann tipping his hat to Mingus? Just Add Water: you’ll get plenty of brainy jazz with plenty of chutzpah, heart and genial wit. Three thumbs up!