First impressions can be deceiving. The cover photography is hardly compelling. What is the Sofferman Perspective anyway? But who could argue with and not be intrigued by tracks called ‘Wouberfish’ and ‘Purple Friggin’ Dinosaur’? These titles represent a bit about the music: offbeat with a straight shot of whimsy. But, there’s more: the tunes have a strong sense of melody and rhythm that makes the music persuasive and enjoyable.
This band, based in Boston, reveals itself to be an innovative band founded by drummer, composer and arranger Brooke Sofferman and he is supported by some of jazz’s most capable performers, including Jerry Bergonzi, Phil Grenadier, Norm Zocher, Alexei Tsiganoc, Thomas Kneeland, and Abby Aronson.
At 30 years old, Sofferman’s pieces reflect what is going on around him. ‘Mimi’s Mambo’ is dedicated to his mother and ‘Boppa’s Bossa’ to his father. These two pieces dance to their own slightly different beats and personalities. ‘Bo-beh-lo,’ started out a melody to soothe his eldest daughter, Zoe. Like a piece by Thelonious Monk, the melody begins deceptively simple but then it becomes increasing complex. One wonders whether the piece is a child’s pronunciation of bebop. ‘Ky by Sky’ is a beautiful ballad he wrote when his twin daughters, Kyleigh and Skylar, were still in the womb floating side by side. This features extended solos by Zocher and Bergonzi that seemingly reflects the uniqueness of each child as they develop together and separately. ‘Purple Friggin’ Dinosaur’ is dedicated to the character in his least, and no doubt his daughters’ favorite PBS program. It bops along happily until there is an eerie bit in the middle of the piece. What has Sofferman done to Barney? And why does it sound so happy during the conclusion?
On ‘Griegarious Skang,’ Sofferman uses recognizable melodies from Edvard Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt Suite’ as an incredible springboard to some of the most exciting and innovative music on this CD. Grieg swings his arms around and tosses his head and shakes his booty big time. This is a marvelous achievement. ‘Wouberfish’ begins with a gorgeously elegant piano solo that evolves into something featuring the trumpet that gives it a slinky and cool and shimmering texture.
‘Uh-ah-ooo-ah’ starts as a sexy grunt that becomes an incessant chant. Who knows what this is about? Calculated and off-the -wall? Who frankly cares? But, it does feel like a piece that was tossed in at the last moment. Then there is ‘Triptophan’ that begins with a turkey squawking.... .And given where he has gone, why not end with Sofferman’s favorite television show from his formative years, ‘Magnum P.I. Theme?’
Sofferman and his band are clearly having a lot of fun. The water is fine, so why not jump in?