Sunday, May 5, 2019

Bennett Paster: “Indivisible” (2019) CD Review

A glance at the track list of Indivisible, jazz keyboardist Bennett Paster’s new album, will tell you there is something of a lighthearted attitude here. Several of the tracks have playful titles – “Blues For Youse,” “(Givin’ The People) What We Want,” “A Beastly Beauty” – and from those you get the sense that Bennett Paster and the other musicians are enjoying themselves. And listening to the album, that certainly seems to be the case. There is a levity, a joviality to these tracks, which of course is not to say these aren’t serious musicians. Joining Bennett Paster on this release are Jeff Hanley on bass, Tony Mason on drums, Al Street on guitar, Kenny Brooks on tenor saxophone, Samuel Torres on congas and percussion, and Todd Isler on percussion. They deliver some delicious, completely enjoyable grooves. The album features all original material, composed by Bennett Paster.

It opens with “Blues For Youse,” which has a loose, wonderful, somewhat funky groove. I really like the work on drums and percussion here. This is one of the tracks to feature Todd Isler. And Bennett Paster’s keys seem to dance, moving along with a carefree attitude, spreading cheer as if it were a physical object to be distributed to the populace. Wonderful stuff. Then partway through, the bass takes a cool lead spot. There are also brief drum solos toward the end. That’s followed by “(Givin’ The People) What We Want,” a funky and fun tune featuring some excellent work on guitar. That section where the guitar and sax get into a little conversation is delicious. And with that rhythm underneath, it feels like a party. So, yes, please give us more of what you want.

“Belgrade Booty Call” has a New Orleans vibe. Put this one on, get off your ass, and head out into the street, so folks can toss beads your way. This track features more wonderful percussion, which I’m digging even before that delicious solo. But that solo is what really gets me moving. Both Samuel Torres and Todd Isler are on percussion on this one. It’s a lot of fun, a reminder that life is good, and is one of my favorite tracks. Bennett Paster then changes gears with “Gratitude,” which has a pretty and relaxed sound, a loving touch to Paster’s work on keys. Things then get swinging and grooving again with “Gritty Greens,” featuring some good work on both saxophone and guitar. There is a bit of a Stax feel to rhythm at times, which I appreciate and enjoy.

“The Murfreesboro Waltz” is a cool, sweet, soulful tune with a loose vibe. I love the feel of this one, its end-of-the-night sound, like the guys want to play one last tune before calling it a night. You can almost see the empty whisky glasses as you listen. I’m particularly fond of the saxophone and keys on this track. This is another of my favorites. “Salamander” is a funky fusion jam, with a catchy rhythm and more nice stuff on sax. The album then concludes with “Buxom Biali,” which has a classic vibe that I love. This is a fun little number to get you dancing. There is a bit of a swinging 1960s thing to do this one, right? What a delightful way to wrap up the album.

CD Track List
  1. Blues For Youse
  2. (Givin’ The People) What We Want
  3. Indian Summer
  4. Belgrade Booty Call
  5. Gratitude
  6. Gritty Greens
  7. The Murfreesboro Waltz
  8. A Beastly Beauty
  9. Salamander
  10. Buxom Biali
Indivisible was released on May 3, 2019.

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