Review: Jeff Berlin: "Low Standards"

Jeff Berlin follows up his previous CD, High Standards, with the same unique trio instrumentation: Himself on bass guitar, Richard Drexler on piano and upright bass, and ex-Headhunter Mike Clark replacing Danny Gottleib on drums.
By Chris Jisi ,

Jeff Berlin follows up his previous CD, High Standards, with the same unique trio instrumentation: Himself on bass guitar, Richard Drexler on piano and upright bass, and ex-Headhunter Mike Clark replacing Danny Gottleib on drums. This time out, Jeff reaches deeper into the standards bag, plucking challenging ’60s classics like Wayne Shorter’s “E.S.P.” and “El Gaucho,” Bill Evans’ “Very Early,” Carla Bley’s “Vashkar” (made famous by Tony Williams Lifetime), Steve Swallow’s “Falling Grace,” and Pat Metheny’s 1983 “new” standard, “James.” Berlin is at his peak powers imposing the horn-bred language of post-bop in his solos and creatively adapting dense piano and guitar voicings on his 4-string. Meanwhile, Clark proves an underrated jazz drummer, and as talented a pianist as Drexler is, there’s something about the blend of the two basses in chord-less counterpoint that gives the trio its own special sound.