The Edwin Livingston Group
In his first recording as session leader, Edwin Livingston, one of Austin's premiere jazz bassists, has reached out for a sound all his own, and with the help of four original compositions and one extended improvisation, he's pushed the envelope a bit. The bass solo in the first tune, "AKA Fiddy Jones," is all over the place, taking high thin to reverbing lows, Livingston hitting quick eighths and sixteenths at all points in between as if he had three hands. The soloing is loose in "Shytown," taking a nod from the sparse jamming style of Charlie Haden in a small combo, while "Hattie-n-James" changes step with a nasty stroll through some bluesy jazz, Livingston's bowing heightening the swagger. And, as is to be expected by now, he gets some heavyweight performances out of his longtime comrades. Elias Haslanger's sax work is impeccable -- adventurous and inspired -- while Fred Sanders' piano is likewise free-roaming. Drummer J.J. Johnson and Livingston fit like a tight handshake, always in tune with who has the time. This is more than a solid first effort -- it's an exciting taste of things to come.