Dreaming Out Loud
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In the late '50s and early '60s, sessions by John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins did a lot to show the jazz world how appealing a piano-less saxophone trio (just sax, bass, and drums) could be. Of course, Trane and Newk used a pianist more often than not; their piano-less sessions were the exception instead of the rule. But when they did opt for the saxophone trio format, the results were usually intriguing — not to mention probing and intimate. No one has to tell drummer Bob Kaufman, tenor saxman Jerry Bergonzi, and bassist Bruce Gertz how well that format worked for Coltrane and Rollins back in the day; forming a pianoless trio, they are mindful of both musicians on Dreaming Out Loud. Kaufman, Gertz, and Bergonzi like to call this trio KGB, but they aren't a Stalinist entity that reports to Leonid Bresnev or Yuri Andropov in the old Soviet Union — they're an acoustic post-bio unit with an outlook that is swinging yet abstract and cerebral. Clearly, the absence of a pianist works to Bergonzi's creative advantage; because he doesn't have to think about what a pianist is doing, he has more room to probe and do a lot of improvised digging. At times, Bergonzi's extended inside/outside solos can be self-indulgent, but when an improviser has a lot to say — and Bergonzi does have a lot to say — one can easily live with his excesses and accept them as part of the big picture. By early 2000s standards, Dreaming Out Loud isn't innovative; Coltrane, Rollins, and others were doing this type of thing 40 years earlier. But it's a decent, satisfying effort that underscores the trio's cohesive nature.
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