Drew Gress, 7 Black Butterflies

Dylan Hicks

By Dylan Hicks

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Drew Gress's responsive, versatile chops and Rockefeller-rich tone have made him a much in-demand NYC sideman, supporting Uri Caine, Tim Berne, Fred Hersch, Don Byron, and others. On this, his third solo outing, he leads a quintet through a set of brainy originals that just touch the progressive fringes of straight-ahead jazz. The mood is generally meditative, the melodies never catchy but never hard on the ear. "Low Slung/High Strung," introduced by Gress solo featuring rubbery chords and blues runs, swings and nearly rocks harder with fuel from drummer Tom Rainey, the MVP on an album that also includes Tim Berne's acerbic alto sax, Ralph Alessi's trumpet and Craig Taborn's piano.