Time One (BW057)
After four years as one quarter of Fourth World with Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and José Neto, Gary Meek left to pursue a solo career, but very much with their blessing, as their contributions to this album demonstrate. José plays guitar on most tracks and has written a song, while Airto contributes a number that only he could have written. The result is a smoother, silkier sound, but with the distinctive Meek hallmark of outstanding musicianship and the Fourth World knack of finding the right driving rhythm to keep the music well clear of the middle of the road. This unique array of eclectic music, performed by some of the best musicians in contemporary jazz, represents a calling card for Gary Meek's musical diversity and ability across a range of instruments. But it is Meek's saxophone work that is the chief highlight of this set.
The title track starts with a lilting beat winding direct from
Kingston, with Gary swinging in on soprano sax, and then gets nasty
with the arrival of the tenor sax, ending in a crescendo of cross
rhythms. 'Sierra Highway' and 'Misturada' are characterised by tight,
driving percussion while 'A New Day' is a beautiful lyrical number with
Gary's soprano sax holding the melody with all the sensuality of an arm
round a girl's waist. Understated guitar from José and electric piano
from Mitchell Forman act as the perfect frame within which Gary's sax
weaves its reflective figures.
On José's composition. 'The Sun Is Out', the guitarists dips into his
African experience to supply a joyous high-life setting. Gary's
energetic sax playing catches the vibe perfectly. Then, as is unable to
restrain the wild side of his playing any longer, José lights the blue
touch paper and rockets fly. 'Free' finishes the album on a muscular
note, with the band jamming around clarion playing from Gary and a
wickedly insidious bass line from Jerry Watts Jr. José lets himself off
the leash again and the result is fusion music at its best: exciting,
free and direct.
The comparisons with Kenny G are inevitable, but this is no Gary M.
Rather, here is a musician who has absorbed much wider influences,
actively seeking master musicians to share his stage and his vision.
'The gifted saxophonist and flautist presents a Latin-influenced album
with a powerful shot of calypso thrown in. While the grooves sometimes
suggest that an improvising sax player is surplus to requirements, Meek
is a terrific flute player (audible on the uptempo 'Misturada', where
he combines flying phrasing, triumphant trills, and an engaging growl
that gives this sometimes fragmented jazz instrument bite) and a
tenorist with a whirring, gritty, Wayne Shorter touch who likes
building solos up to big maelstroms like Mike Brecker. Like a Brecker,
John Schofield and Moreira/Purim album with a bit of calypso and
hi-life thrown in.'
John Fordham, The Guardian, 17.3.95
Track Listing (30 Second Samples)
1. Time One
3. Eva Marie
4. Bosphorous Blue
5. Sierra Highway
6. For a long time
7. On the road
8. A new day
9. The sun is out
Gary Meek Keyboards, Saxophones, Flute
Michael Shapiro Drums
Jerry Watts Jr Bass
Brad Dutz Percussion
Mitchell Forman Keyboards
José Neto Guitar