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The Vastness of Space

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Album Review

On The Vastness of Space, Reid Anderson's third album for Fresh Sound/New Talent, the bassist/composer tries something entirely different and arguably even more original and daring. Instead of Ethan Iverson on piano there's Ben Monder on guitar. Altoist Andrew D'Angelo and tenorist Bill McHenry comprise the frontline, with Marlon Browden behind the drums. This is the lineup that Anderson performed with live during the course of 2000. The overall vibe of the band is raw and loose, allowing Anderson's new batch of tunes to breathe and flow with an easy-grooving effortlessness. Many of the melodies have an almost hymnal quality, and the chord progressions and beats are sometimes closer to rock than jazz. But that doesn't make it "jazz-rock" or fusion of any familiar sort. Neither does it fit comfortably into avant-garde or mainstream post-bop camps. Even more so than Anderson's two previous albums, this music is uncategorizable, and at the same time entirely accessible. Nearly every track has what can only be called a hook, making each listen a satisfying return to melodies or chordal patterns that quickly become etched in the brain. The Vastness of Space is not at all a "blowing" record. "Prehensile Dream," in fact, features hardly any soloing at all. The mesmerizing melody is simply repeated, with increasing urgency, until the same haunting guitar arpeggios that began the tune return to end it. Similarly, "Reclusive" and "Melismatic Clouds of Joy" build melodies into ecstatic yet mournful cries, harnessing the power of the full ensemble to drive the point home. Fresh Sound/New Talent is building a reputation for solid releases from some of jazz's most underappreciated artists. The Vastness of Space is surely one of the best projects the label has released to date. It is also a new breakthrough for Anderson, a bassist and composer of rare gifts who deserves to be heard and appreciated by a wider audience. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Biography

Born: Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Originally from Minneapolis, Reid Anderson emerged as one of the most promising bassists and composers on the New York jazz scene. He studied classical music at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, graduating in 1993. Upon arriving in New York in 1994, he began working with like-minded young players such as Mark Turner, Jorge Rossy, Ethan Iverson, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Bill McHenry. Anderson has released a number of fine albums on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label, and he co-leads an acclaimed...
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The Vastness of Space, Reid Anderson
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