Master composer/arranger/trombonist Curt Berg gathers with some of his good friends from the top ranks of the LA Jazz Scene to create his long-overdue debut recording. A regular weekly session at Berg's Avon Street studio has resulted in a tight band with a deep musical chemistry who here, explore the eclectic fare Berg has developed over the years as a performer and writer with, among many others, the bands of Woody Herman, Louie Bellson and Don Ellis. The ASQ features Tom Luer on saxophones, pianist Andy Langham, bassist Lyman Medeiros and the great Bill Berg on drums.
Produced by Curt Berg
Recorded & mixed by Gary Denton at Stagg Street Studio, 15147 Stagg Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406
Recorded on February 4/11/18/27, 2009 and April 15, 2009
Mastered by Mark Guenther, Seattle Disc Mastering
Front cover drawing by Bill Berg
Cover design and layout by John Bishop
Weekly rehearsals in Curt Berg's Los Angeles area garage studio afford him the opportunity to try out his compositions and to interpret them with various personnel line-ups. For his first recording as leader this quintet does a stellar job; the Stagg Street studio isn't far from Berg's home and garage, but it offers the acoustics to capture the sound of his ensemble quite well. Deeply sensual and emotionally moving, the leader's compositions allow plenty of room for individual expression as well as extended group interplay.
Tom Luer plays soprano on "Search Until You Find It," alto on "Midwick Man," "Bristlecone," "Double Down," and "Can't Get Off This Train" and tenor on the rest. He and pianist Andy Langham enjoy a lion's share of session soloing; however, everyone steps into the spotlight here with plenty of free will. The one quality that stands out for its adventurous appeal is the interlaced action created by Berg and Luer each time they step up together. The two horns work out consistently with woven voices that share thoughts and moods equally.
Two dedications to Gary Foster and Moacir Santos feature Luer's alto and tenor, respectively, as spark plug for the quintet while they drive rhythmically with dramatic force. Berg's trombone keeps pace and his quintet does a winning job of interpreting his compositions successfully.
-- by Jim Santella, Cadence