Ed Cherry, Are We There Yet? Review
by Jeff Becker
Guitarist Ed Cherry has been based in the New York jazz scene since the seventies, and now he is releasing his latest album titled Are We There Yet? Joining Cherry is vibraphonist Monte Croft, drummer Byron Landham, and Hammond B-3 organist Kyle Koehler. The quartet takes us on a jazz journey drenched in blues through a collection of originals and standards.
The bluesy “Jean/Pauline” opens the album with a tasteful melody. The tune is a Cherry original composed for his two daughters. Croft takes the first solo. His lines keep the blues theme as he segues between the straight eight and swing feel of the form. An interlude is performed before Cherry’s guitar solo. His ideas build around motifs and are lathered in the jazz blues language. His use of octaves adds fullness and relaxed ideas. Koehler follows with a building and musical solo.
Grant Green’s “Green Jeans” is given a fine performance by the ensemble with a soulful jazz vibe. Cherry’s opening fills over Koehler’s groove is tasteful and leads to the melody. The riff-based melody fits the ensemble’s style. Here, Cherry turns in one of his best solos on the album. His simple bluesy line sits in the pocket as Koehler’s interactive support pushes him forward. Cherry is all about melody and developing themes throughout his solo. His use of octaves at the end of his solo builds and is a nice touch.
Are We There Yet? is Cherry turning in yet another solid jazz album. With a constant jazz meets soul vibe, this is soul jazz meant for those who like that feel-good groove of the soul jazz era. The ensemble works together, and all speak the same language.
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