Bob Nell — Soft and Bronze
(Plechmo Music 4000, 2003, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2005-09-01Bob Nell has been playing jazz piano for nearly 30 years (mostly with drummer Brad Edwards) supporting jazz icons such as Ray Brown and David ‘Fathead’ Newman. His latest set of eight pieces features a trio that concentrates on the fine attributes of the small acoustic club combo. The opening track, “808 Express,” is a blast from the past as Nell delivers chops not unlike those jazz heroes he has emulated. Next up is a the bouncing melodic title piece that serves as a plateau for Nell’s nimble ability at the keys and later on giving space to upright bassist, Mike Bisio. Things heat up a bit for “Triumphant Thoroughfare,” which has an alternate theme development from prior songs. “Song for Aria” mines a familiar mode for jazz pianists: nightclub mood soloing with minimal backing and mournful melody. “Steve’s Revenge” in contrast, is a full on assault that pushes the trio into a toe-tapping frenzy and one of the best displays of ensemble interplay on the disc. Two alternate extended takes of “Blues for KB,” which also appears on Nell’s 1991 recording Why I Like Coffee close out the disc. The former take is one punctuated by fiery improvisation while the latter track is a more linear, straight-up performance. Overall Nell and his trio would be welcome in any jazz nightclub across the country to convey their take on the modern jazz trio.
Related artist(s): Bob Nell
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more