DAVID BERK­MAN Old Friends and New Friends

Pal­metto

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - COR­MAC LARKIN

With old friends such as pro­ducer Matt Bal­it­saris, who needs new ones? David Berk­man recorded a run of ex­cel­lent al­bums for Pal­metto, Bal­it­saris’s fer­tile New York la­bel, back in the late 1990s but it’s now more than 10 years since the pi­anist re­leased any stu­dio record­ing of his own mu­sic. The drought ends in em­phatic style here with com­po­si­tions for a su­perbly bal­anced sex­tet, recorded in pris­tine beauty at the pro­ducer’s Maggie’s Farm stu­dio. Three very un­der-rated sax­o­phon­ists – Dayna Stephens, Billy Drewes and Adam Kolker – and sure-footed bassist Linda Oh all de­liver on the prom­ise of the leader’s tunes, but it’s the other old friend in at­ten­dance, the in­com­pa­ra­ble Brian Blade on drums, whose un­du­lat­ing grooves and sense of drama re­ally set Berk­man’s com­bustible tunes ablaze. pal­metto-records.com

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