Alex Collins; Ryan Berg; Karl Latham
Drop Zone Jazz
Technically, this is a standards album–all tracks except perhaps Wayne Shorter’s “Night Dreamer” are jazz standards–but it’s a standards album with a difference: the Collins/Berg/Lathan trio play these tunes in such a freewheeling way that they’re almost unrecognizable. Please note that I said “freewheeling,” and not “free”; there’s nothing harmolodic or “out” about these arrangements. It’s just that each member of the trio plays in an impressionistic manner and takes great liberties with both melody and rhythm (while remaining nicely tethered to each tune’s harmonic structure). Collins in particular plays in a style that might be characterized as the logical extreme of the Bill Evans approach, except with brighter chord voicings and a somewhat more obviously bravura technique. Bassist Berg plays in a style similarly connected to that of Scott LaFaro, rarely walking and in fact rarely defining a steady meter, while drummer Latham simultaneously holds things together and contributes his own pointillistic flourishes. The result is a program that harks back to tradition even as it lovingly explodes it, and on tender deconstructions of tunes like “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” the effect is electrifying. Highly recommended.
By Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews -
June 30, 2021
Spirited soaring diverse jazz Alex Collins, Ryan Berg, Karl Latham – TOGETHER: Your ears are going to find the recording quality on this album hard to believe, but I can tell you right now that this is one of the most spirited, soaring and diverse jazz sets I have listened to (yet) in 2021… first, I recommend you watch their split-screen video for the opener, “Stella By Starlight“…
As you saw, these cats REALLY have a love of playing together… you’ll want to make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the Karl Latham YouTube channel, too, where you can find many more exciting performances.
You’ll hear Alex Collins playing piano, Ryan Berg on bass and Karl Latham does drums; from a “purely jazz” perspective, their performance of Wayne Shorter’s “Night Dreamer” is the hippest song you’ll hear this year… unique talent and ultra-energy make this piece one that jazz DJ’s across the globe will be plugging into their playlists for a LONG time to come!
“Alone Together” demonstrates the trio’s superior “pacing” ability… every note is an adventure full of the sonic delight that comes from truly playing together… in fact, I haven’t heard a band this tight in many years.
It was easy to make my choice for personal favorite of the six long performances offered up… their performance of “On Green Dolphin Street” stands out as the best for that tune that I have EVER heard… very unique and sets the trio apart from all the others!
I give Alex, Ryan and Karl a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99. Get more information on Karl’s website.
Three New York jazzbo jazz pros band together to step out of the shadows and more into the spotlight of their own. Serving it up in a piano trio on well known standards that leave room for them to add their own special sauces, they certainly work and play well together---a notation they would want on their permanent records. Easy going but not easy listening, this is what you want to have handy when you're pretending to work from home these summer afternoons.. Smart work.