Ernie Krivda – Requiem For A Jazz Lady – Capri 74140-2, 50:49 ***1/2:
(Ernie Krivda – tenor saxophone; Lafayette Carthon – piano; Marion Hayden – bass; Renell Gonsalves – drums)
“Persistence is its own reward,” so says author Brian Tracy in his book No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline. This phrase could easily apply to tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda, who has remained steadfast in building his reputation starting from his roots in the Cleveland, Ohio jazz scene. His latest project Requiem For A Lady is a quartet session filled with his own brand of expressive introspection.
With the exception of the standard “I’ll Close My Eyes”, the other six compositions in this release are originals from the pen of Krivda. The supporting rhythm section is composed of what might be called regional players, with bassist Marion Hayden and drummer Renell Gonsalves from Detroit and pianist Lafayette Carthon a native of Cleveland. While they may not be household names, they are flexible players who play with skill and acumen.
To say that Krivda’s tone is unusual would be an understatement. His playing is generally in the lower register of the instrument and sounds slightly abstract with tons of vibrato, but that probably does not really capture the essence of his style. The opening track is “The Remarkable Mr. Black” which is a swinging melody that has a blues reference that Krivda captures with rugged effervescence. The Buddy Kaye/Billy Reid standard “I’ll Close My Eyes” is done in ballad form with Krivda offering a lean soulful reading. Lafayette Carthon offers a sensitive piano break adding to the nostalgic interpretation of the tune.
“Questions” and “Great Lakes Gumbo” sound like they were stirred in the same pot with a heavy R&B influence, although the former has a more jaggedy edge than the latter, which has a bluesier aspect. Krivda reels off some dark phrases despite the antecedents of the two numbers. The band clearly relishes the enjoyment of the sounds as they edit out the rough bits. The title “Requiem For A Jazz Lady” has a lyrical element despite the somewhat brooding overtones that speaks to its noir sentiment. Pianist Carthon finds the right blues notes that adds to the overall feeling of unease.
This session offers some relatively unexplored terrain from an unconventional player.
TrackList: The Remarkable Mr. Black; I’ll Close My Eyes; Questions 7:10; Emerald; Great Lakes Gumbo; Little Face; Requiem For A Jazz Lady