Jarrett Cherner: piano; Jorge Roeder and Haggai Cohen-Milo: bass; Jason Burger and Richie Barshay: drums.
Brooklyn-based pianist, composer, and educator Jarrett Cherner boasts his homogeneous trio-formula in Expanding Heart, a feverishly passionate album released on BaldHill Records. For this recording, a vehicle to exhibit his vision and qualities, Cherner gathered two different trios. Bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Jason Burger play nine of the eleven tunes on the album, while bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Richie Barshay play the remaining two.
Even with a diversified selection that comprises originals and covers of disparate styles, one can immediately find a common direction and identifiable traces in the music of the trios. That's because, regardless the numerous influences, Cherner has a rich, personal touch and sound.
“Opening” is a 35-second solo piano intro that doesn’t do much than prepare the way to Ornette Coleman’s brilliant “What Reason Could I Give”, a tune with a whirlwind effect where the emotions are elevated through Cherner's exultations, Roeder’s relentless pizzicato, which has the equivalence of a bass pedal, and Burger’s fidgety drumming.
Another rendition of the master Ornette is “Turnaround”, which came out markedly bluesy.
Unfolding with an inviting rhythm, “Distance” is a 6/8-meter odyssey, flawlessly composed by Cherner, which shines with great energy and is enhanced through encouraging melodic discourses and a bass solo inundated of soul force.
Otis Redding’s R&B hit “I Got the Will” showcases the bandleader’s flattering improvisational language without losing the groovy touch of the original. This song anticipates “Meditation 1”, the first of three amiable, generous, and unclouded pieces whose bittersweet lyricism triggers soft waves of relaxation.
The alternative trio (Cohen-Milo and Barshay) delivers Vincent Roses's “Whispering” with a dissimulated 4/4 pliability, and also “Here We Go Again”, a witty post-bop feast à-la Kenny Barron with a knack of Dizzy Gillespie.
The refined musical credentials and dynamism of Cherner, who found solid ground on his peers, are responsible for turning Expanding Heart into a resplendent achievement. Devoid of any type of artifice, he conquered me with his musical spontaneity, technical fluidity, compositional engagement, and natural facility.
02 – What Reason Could I Give ► 03 – Distance ► 08 – Here We Go Again