|Time to wonder, time to wander, time to listen, time to sing… but no time for jive. In the clean air of Manitou Springs, Colorado, with the Garden of the Gods his backyard, alto saxophonist Jeff Pearring grew up in harmony with nature, and has remained, amidst the hustle of the music scene and bustle of 21stcentury Brooklyn, in tune with himself.
As the West was a place for settlers to become who they wanted to be and discover who they were, so music affords a realm to bare and share our spirit, to find beauty in our surroundings and share our joy. Sagacious guides are always helpful to explorers, and at an early age, after realizing he was not cut out for the trumpet, Jeff found the propitiously-named Bud Reed, who steered him to the saxophone. Jeff landed in New York in 2002, after playing in college with ska/reggae and blues bands, wanting more of a shaping effect on the music he played. In 2005 he met the inimitable Connie Crothers, whose prime pedagogical tenet was to help musicians unearth their own inner voice. The results of their collaboration can be heard on the 2015 live recording, True Story. Jeff Pearring has found his sound.
In fact, Pearring Sound is the rubric under which Jeff assembles various combinations of New York improvisers, pairing players of different generations, one such being a Double Trio, inspired by Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz double quartet, which includes, in addition to two thirtysomething altoists, two septuagenarian drummers. The singular trio heard here is filled out by stalwart bassist Adam Lane, who has performed internationally with everyone from Bernard Purdie to John Tchicai and whose widely acclaimed Full Throttle Orchestra recordings on Clean Feed mark him as a leading bandleader/composer in his own right, and relative newcomer drummer Tim Ford, who meets the music’s twists and turns with do-or-die Bed Stuy élan and aplomb. The group has performed regularly for the past year, and it shows; each of the three can fly fancy free, knowing the others have his back and will bring him home.
This studio recording offers Jeff the opportunity not only to showcase the group’s telepathic improvisation and sense of spontaneous composition, but also utilize modern technology to extend its sonic dimensions. All the tracks, all group originals save Duke Ellington’s composition Blue Pepper, were created in the moment—no overdubbing—in two sessions, recorded 15 days apart. At the first, with Lane playing electric bass, the empathetic collaboration of engineer Jon Rosenberg selectively enhanced harmonies and rhythms implicit in the playing. The second gave free rein to the trio to stretch their acoustic sounds au naturel.Together, they take the listener on a hitherto uncharted journey through space and time.
In a time when the music world is brimming with budding virtuosos who know and play everything, it’s a breath of fresh air to encounter someone who knows and plays himself. If you haven’t already, it’s time to listen to Jeff Pearring.