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  • Jonathan Widran


One of jazz’s most versatile, prolific bassists, Jay Anderson launched his career with the Woody Herman Orchestra, then Big Band, and after two years with Carmen McRae moved from SoCal to NYC and has appeared on over 400 recordings providing the pluck and groove for a plethora of legends.

It’s been nearly two decades since he’s stepped out as a leader in the studio, which makes his rhythmically, melodically and thematically eclectic new ensemble session Deepscape a delightfully welcome return.

Aside from his era-expansive choice of material – from, among others, Keith Jarrett, Gil Evans, Branford Marsalis, Morton Feldman and Billy Joel, plus a haunting, ambient take on “The Tennessee Waltz” – the most notable aspect of this alternately rambunctious and introspective collection is the artful way Anderson interacts with the snazzy horns (sometimes solo, sometimes played in tandem) of multi-saxman Billy Drewes (who also brings a soulful bass clarinet to the table) and cornet master Kirk Knuffke.

Amidst all the re-imaginings are Anderson’s thoughtful originals, the ambient title track opener and hypnotic ballad “Momentum,” whose emotional heft is carried by Drewes and Knuffke.

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