This is a brooding, dense album, which is the reason why it is so unique and enjoyable, unlike many albums where the density of constantly changing rhythmic enchantment mingles with even denser harmonies. It is not hard to wrap the mind around these harmonies, but it certainly is amazing to note that these have been created by just two keyboards, an occasional saxophonist or two and a percussion colorist as wise beyond his years as Eric Harland. This is evident as much on the stunning recasting of Charlie Parker's "Moose The Mooche" as it is on the dark beauty of the magical and mysterious "Manhã de Carnaval."
Aaron Goldberg's star in modern jazz has constantly been on the rise, especially as an accompanist. With Home, he establishes a delicate balance between the softer side of modern mainstream music a la Bill Evans with the more advanced harmonic approach of Keith Jarrett, while occasionally adding some rock-'em sock-'em neo-bop to the proceedings. These are mainly trio sessions with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, but on occasion tenor saxophonist Mark Turner joins in, though his voicings are merely icing on the cake.
With this recording, Joshua Redman attempts a long-form composition for the first time, a series of eight numbers that form a cycle of sorts. The promotional buzz claimed that Redman was taking stock of his music ten years after winning the Thelonious Monk competition, the event that had the effect of launching him full-blown into the big time. Whether or not that's true, there is a predominantly reflective, thoughtful tone about this quartet session, split between written-out passages and flat-out improvisations.
Dantone interpretation is easily one of the best I have heard in recent years, and I consider it among the elite harpsichord recordings of the Goldbergs in the catalogs. His interpretations feature a compelling mix of power/energy, rhythmic lift, sharply etched phrasing, poignant refrains, playful episodes, bleak terrains and totally satisfying conversations from Bach's contrapuntal musical lines. I think it is fair to say that Dantone gives us the full measure of Bach's soundworld in excellent sonics that are crisp as well as well as abundantly rich.
In the 21st century, it's easy to take technology for granted and forget that in the time of Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685, d. 1750), there were no cars, busses, airplanes, TVs, radios, movies, tape recorders, electric lights, or computers. People used candles to light their homes, and horses were the fastest way to get around. There were excellent plays and opinionated theater critics to review them, but no cameras to film the actors and actresses. Recording technology had yet to be invented, so the only way to hear classical musicians was to hear them performing live. Although the classical artists of Bach's time could not be recorded, they left behind their compositions, and today's classical musicians continue to keep them alive.