Album Review: The Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet – Over the Edge
There exist many substyles under the genre umbrella that is jazz. The chosen approach of Boston-based outfit the Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet is hard bob, a style that experienced its heyday in the middle of the 1950s. Leading lights of the style were drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, John Coltrane (who admittedly explored other areas as well) and Freddie Hubbard. Even though jazz moved on to other phases, hard bop’s appeal has endured. And to listen to these five players, you’d never know that sixty-plus years have passed. They nail the style’s nuances, interplay and energy. Moreover, as much as jazz has often made highly intelligent and creative use of interpreting existing works, all ten of the tracks on the instrumental set are original compositions. Half are written by trumpeter Wayne Pearcy; the remainder are from the pen of saxophonist and album producer Aaron Gratzmiller. The interplay between the two composer/musicians and the rest of the band – pianist Matt Savage, Greg Toro on bass and drummer Fabio Rojas – is assured deceptively easygoing in character. The five players acts as a single musical organism, without losing their individuality in the process. If you already have your fill of classic-era hard bop LPs – in fact, even if you don’t – Over the Edge is enthusiastically recommended; it will make a fine addition to the collection of any jazz aficionado.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.