Ted Piltzecker & Company – Steppe Forward – Corner Mushroom Music

by | Oct 6, 2010 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Ted Piltzecker & Company – Steppe Forward – Corner Mushroom Music 1, 37:22 ****:

(Ted Piltzecker – vibes, piano, percussion; Rogerio Boccato – percussion; Sam Dillon – saxophones; Nick Llerandi – guitars; Jerad Lippi – drums; Mike Kujawski – bass; Harvie S. – bass)

Ted Piltzecker  is a dedicated musician. As a performer and faculty member at Purchase College in New York, he has created an idiomatic music landscape. At the core of his philosophy is the unbridled connection between discipline and freedom. By perfecting technique, the ability to influence musical autonomy is enhanced in theory and performance. He has performed with dozens of jazz groups in the New York area, and has been a featured soloist at worldwide percussion festivals.  Additionally Piltzecker has appeared as soloist with the Tucson Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Delaware Symphony and Regina Symphony Orchestras. His repertoire includes ethnic music, jazz, tango classical and world culture music. 

Steppe Forward is a briskly paced seven track effort (six original compositions), infused with melody and pace. The lively tempo is set on the opening title cut, as Piltzecker integrates Latin feeling with subtle riffs. Saxophone (Sam Dillon) and guitar (Nick Llerandi) unify leads, and exchange tersely with the effervescent percussion section. “Kalunga” provides an impressive group dynamic as the vibes and saxophone play in unison and lend a supportive background. The piece has a bossa nova guitar solo that flows into atmospheric lead play, with Piltzecker delivering jazzy piano chords. The interplay of the musicians is discerning and harmonic. A bop edginess pervades “Reunion Blues”, as the tenor saxophone is featured. A rare bass solo (Mike Kujawski) is anchored by exquisite vibe intonation, segueing into a spirited electric guitar run. With a sharper jazz arrangement, “Flight Following” is energized, notably on the saxophone lines and Piltzecker’s prodigious licks.

Piltzecker is capable of cultivating a wide range of sounds on his instrument. His play is abundantly fluid on chord figurations or single note coloration.  “Why So Long?”, a ballad, showcases a supple tonality. The drifting flow is accented by immaculate flourishes and lithe breaks. The unique aesthetic of the vibes is exultant. “He Sent An Angel” has a late night motif in a slowed down waltz time. The only cover, Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream” (a reference to jazz patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswater) has a scintillating combination of soprano saxophone, acoustic guitar and vibes improvisation that elevates the intricate nuances of the sextet.

Steppe Forward is undenialbly listenable, and brings vitality to the vibes based jazz combo.

TrackList: Steppe Forward; Flight Following; He Sent An Angel; Nica’s Dream; Kalunga; Why So Long? ; Reunion Blues.

—  Robbie Gerson

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