Opening with "Quagmire" seems almost deceptive as these artists work their way fluidly through this up-tempo, keyboard driven, brushwork-laden tune.
Calling Cannon a main mentor during his formative years, Germanson says "Gerald put together a quintet called the Jazz Elements back in Milwaukee, featuring local legend Berkely Fudge on tenor," giving Germanson tremendous experience gigging in Milwaukee and New York. This fifteen year relationship has definitely paid-off for both artists.
Written for Germanson’s late sister, "Jill’s Song" is an introspective piano solo developing into a waltz-time ballad. The familiar "Wives and Lovers" displays Germanson’s strength on keyboard as Louis Hayes maintains an outstanding one-ness on drums, brush and symbols.
Introspective, "Up Jumped Spring" sets a tone of peacefulness.
"The Way of Water" features a cascading piano solo before the presentation of "Autumn in New York," both gentle, almost playful in trickling, caressing notes. Smooth, meandering walks along an autumn pathway to the divine offerings of nature. Cannon’s bass is rich, deep and timely.
Drummer, Louis Hayes is a member of the original Cannonball Adderly Quintet and has worked with Germanson over the course of several years. No wonder their sound is so cohesive. "Brick" shows just how experienced these musicians are with each other. Hayes’ drum work is strong and solid but does not drown out the feverish finger work of Germanson on keyboard during this fiery composition.
Giving the listener time to catch up with the feel of this album, "Any Thoughts?" closes the CD, Not too racy. Not too tame. There is plenty of room on this song for each artist to showcase his own stellar craft, while melding with the other musicians.
Owl Studios has consistently added amazingly talented musicians to their ranks. Rick Germanson, Louis Hayes, Gerald Cannon and Rob Dixon add another dimension of excellence with the production of Off The Cuff