I’m already on record through another source as stating that Time Piece is "One of the best contemporary jazz albums.... of.... this year," and have no problems confirming that here. While it would not be correct to label this album as an exclusively Brazilian style recording, you cannot discount the heavy bossa nova and samba colors contained on the disc. As bassist/composer Morrie Louden writes in the liner notes "Along with other Brazilian composers, (Antonio Carlos) Jobim has had a profound influence on my writing."
This is clearly evident as he provides an original composition using the same title as Jobim’s classic "Insensatez," another love ballad that differs from Jobim’s three minute instrumental. Louden’s music is nearly nine minutes with gorgeous vocals provided by new comer Gretchen Parlato singing in Portuguese with lyrics from percussionist Nanny Assis. The lady gives another sensuous performance on the sweet and lushes bossa of "A Rosa," containing a passionate tenor solo from West Coast great Bob Sheppard.
Louden rounds out his Brazilian-influenced charts with the samba-shaded "Tunamo" featuring Oriente Lopez on the flute and the light finale "Majique." The non-Brazilian style pieces provide a completely different side to the bassist music. Beginning with the opening number "Gypsy’s Journey," the music takes on new colors as this tune employs a string section backing up soft saxophone phrasings from Sheppard.
Foe this listener one of the best charts here has to be "Verbatim," containing fast paced solo performances from Sheppard, pianist Edward Simon and the leader. "624 Main St." is a burner of a tune with Seamus Blake on a blazing tenor. Other notable scores include the ballad style "Supposition," and the fiery hard bop of "Mr. Frump."
Time Piece is one album that you will enjoy from beginning to end. Not only does the album contain excellent charts, Louden assembled a first-class cadre of musicians among them reed man Bob Sheppard, pianist Edward Simon, Adam Nussbaum and Gary Novak on the drums and Alex Sipiagen on the trumpet just to name a few.