Allaboutjazz.com Review of Blue In Green by Stephen Latessa
The sound that comes from the speakers is immediately arresting. It is a groan, or a whine, or maybe a croon. It shifts and slides from position to position, defying your efforts to pin it down. Now deep and sonorous, now thin and electric as feedback, Johnterryl Plumeri's bowed bass work is endlessly compelling. Pair it with musicians the caliber of David Goldenblatt (piano) and the great Joe La Barbera (drums) on a choice selection of standards and the effect is stunning.
Blue In Green is a flash point of classical and jazz sensibilities. The performances have the intricate formality of chamber pieces, along with the casual urge of jazz to follow inspiration wherever it may wander. Due to this risk-taking, not every track is completely successful. But in a time when the comfort of mediocrity is so tempting, daring missteps should be celebrated as much as easy achievements. For instance, the melancholy enchantment of "Corcovado" does not entirely survive this severe, nearly Gothic interpretation. And yet this misfire does nearly as much to reveal the ineffable beauty of the song as a hundred standard issue bossa nova Muzak arrangements.
On the other hand, the take of "Round Midnight" is one of the strongest pieces I've heard all year. Plumeri sounds downright odd here, exactly as off-kilter and slurred as things seem 'round midnight. There's a novel here, filled with events unsettling and hazy.
Blue In Green is an album that reviewers pray for because it fires the imagination. The listener has the uncanny experience of hearing players thinking on their feet, instead of recycling riffs they've fallen back on for years. It is challenging and astonishingly vital.