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Now Hear This: Over the Edge - The Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet


Rating: ****1/2

Johnny usually handles the Jazz submissions but he's moving so I'm gonna give it a go. I mean, I like Jazz and all but Johnny thinks he's some kind of expert on it. Whatever. I like it too.

So here we have an LP called "Over the Edge" by The Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet. These are some Boston dudes (Wayne Pearcy on Trumpet and Aaron Gratzmiller on Sax who are joined by Matt Savage on Piano, Greg Toro on Bass, and Fabio Rojas on the Drums) that fancy themselves as a kind of a modern take on the old school improv and bebop Jazz styles of the 50's and 60's made famous by Miles Davis and Art Blakey. Sounds pretty cool. I like when modern masters of the craft pay homage in style to their way cool predecessors.

They've been featured on the critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated 502 Sessions as well as making appearances on WHRB Radio so they're no suckers in the Jazz game.

I'm excited to check this one out. My thoughts following the jump per how we usually do things around these parts.

Watch a performance "Over the Edge" from the 502 Sessions on Youtube here:

We get things started with "Beantown Bahp". It's a weird way to spell "bop" but I'll let it slide. This is gorgeous. Well-played and a true tribute to the bebop of old. I'm into it. "Poor Man's Doctor" has a more modern vibe to it and it's also done well. They are masterful at merging eras. "Blues 88" is another different sound merging, you guessed it, a blues feel. This is sultry and lovely and they are showing that they can ably handle just about any sound in the jazz repertoire. Title track "Over the Edge" turbo shoots us back to the bebop-era sound and the pace is as frenetic as the title would suggest. Excellent sax on this one. "Yellow Mood" is a slower tempo ballad, and it's a sad sounding affair. It's a change-up that again shows their versatility. Really pretty track. The next track is "Something About the Moon" and it's good, but it's the first number on the album that didn't really grab me right off the bat. Upon repeated listens, I do like it. It just doesn't stand out as much as the others. Moving on. "The Defector" is bouncy and amazing and we are right back on track with 5-star stuff. "You're Too Nice" is a slower tempo with a ton of attitude. This album is pretty terrific heading into track nine. "Pieces of Mind" is excellently played and another really solid track even if it's not as noteworthy as some of the ones we've heard already. The finale is "Feelings of Summer" and it has a Charles Schultz feel to it and to me that's a knockout. It really does capture the feeling of a summer evening. Just gorgeous.

All-in-all this is nearly flawless. There's some slower spots on the second half of the album, but other than that it is pretty brilliant. Jazz fans old and new are gonna get such a kick out of this one.