| 60 MINUTES Plus 11 minutes of 1981 vintage KRYSTALL KLEAR AND THE BUELLS trio with Buell Neidinger and Peter Erskine. Playing the music of Herbie Nichols, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Marty Krystall.
I've enjoyed recordings of saxophonist Marty Krystall's Quartet, which always has such a wonderfully diciplined looseness to it. Recorded 12.14.99, with sharp visuals in a bright, wood-lined room, MARTY KRYSTALL QUARTET PLUS ONE (K2B2 3370, 60 minutes, $19.99) now allows us to see this band in action. The "plus one" is violinist/pianist Brenton Banks, while Hugh Schick (tpt,p), Jack Bone (b) and Barry Saperstein (d) complete the regular quartet. Heavy on Herbie Nichols compositions (five out the nine performances), this is a solid, no-nonsense set of live Jazz that works beautifully, offering many subtlties for future viewings.
Schick is superb at rendering the idiomatic Nichols piano approach on the opening "'Orse at Safari," and on the closing "Wildflower," which has some of the date's headiest playing. Herbie's "Hangover Triangle" has Banks doubling the melody on violin with Krystall's bass clarinet. Marty's range on the horn is impressive, as is his fluency on sopranino sax, which he uses on Nichols' "Trio," where Saperstein's brush work does the groove justice. The elder Banks is a new voice to me, and his violin work, here and on "Beyond Recall" (more Nichols), is strong and well-integrated into the quartet. Moving to piano for a flexible, lightly swinging arrangement of Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy," Banks takes the tune furthest out harmonically with his solo, and gets into some inspired comping.
Krystall himself should be much better-known than he is; fans of flaming tenor a la David Ware should check out Marty's playing on this tune where he uses corrosive connective tissue to build his fiery, melodic solo. "Press Submit (Trini's Blues)" is for the Krystall-Bone-Saperstein trio alone, and the straight blues structure brings out some fine, hard blowing from the saxophonist. A neat change of pace is "Prelude and Aragonaise," from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen; Schick turns to muted trumpet. Banks takes over the piano, and Krystall's tenor takes a commanding improvisation after the Prelude's melody. "Aragonaise" is a sprightly tune, whose flavor summons the feel of a Carlo Actis Dato group. Banks brings out some nice colors with his solo spot, and Jack Bone makes Charlie Haden-ish with his dramatic, sharply-articulated bass solo. A steal at $19.99, this is a video that no free-bop fan should be without. - Larry Nai for Cadence Magazine.