Unsung (feat. Joel Ross, Harish Raghavan & Marcus Gilmore)
YINZ (feat. Joel Ross, Harish Raghavan & Marcus Gilmore)
It was wise of the Whirlwind label to host this young all-star quintet in a co-led setting, where every member could showcase his refined ability as composer and improviser. Tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matthew Stevens are a united force from the very start of “freefive,” the mesmerizing leadoff duet, to the closing tenor-and-guitar reprise of the doleful “ACE.” In Common also provides an extended glimpse of Joel Ross, one of jazz’s most riveting new voices, on vibraphone. Bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Marcus Gilmore are equally attuned, whether a piece is fast and bracingly complex (“Baron”), fiercely swinging in midtempo (“Unsung,” “About 360”), or spacious and moody (“13th Floor,” the drumless “foreword”). The band’s take on “Unconditional Love,” by the late Geri Allen, nudges the song in a slightly faster and funkier direction.