Marty Ehrlich, News On The Rail

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

News On the Rail

Marty Ehrlich
Galvanizing, impressionistic post-bop that can go from smoky grooves to esoteric idylls

The spectacular creativity of the horn arrangement on the opener, “Enough Enough,” with its vamps, counterpoints and chromatic effusions, is something Ehrlich's mentor, the late World Saxophone Quartet founder and composer Julius Hemphill, would be proud to call his own. Ehrlich plumbs the blues like Hemphill, but uses the musical traditions of Europe rather than Africa as a touchstone. “Light in the Morning (Many Thousand Gone),” for example, uses just brass and reeds to sound like a string symphony. This sextet is Ehrlich's largest ensemble to date, and occasionally sounds much bigger, due to the horn voicings and way the composer uses secret weapon Howard Johnson for tuba basslines and dark splashes of baritone sax in contrast to his own alto and clarinet work. It amounts to galvanizing, impressionistic post-bop that can go from smoky, gutbucket grooves to esoteric idylls, sometimes within the same, suite-like tune.