The Pearcy/Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet (PGJQ) recently dropped their debut album, called Over the Edge, a collection of 10-tracks blending classic jazz, bebop, blues, and fusion jazz.
According to PGJQ, “Our goal in creating Over the Edge was to create a modern album that classic jazz listeners could also enjoy. We made an effort to capture the spirit and tradition of classic quintets from 50’s and 60’s while mixing in modern elements, particularly in the areas rhythm and song form. We think contemporary jazz can be soulful and fun, but inventive at the same time.”
The band’s line-up includes: Wayne Pearcy (trumpet), Aaron Gratzmiler (saxophones), Matt Savage (piano), Greg Toro (bass), and Fabio Rojas (drums).
The album opens with “Beantown Bahp,” an old-school-flavored tune with tasty improvisational elements making an appearance. Toro’s slapping bass line controls the rhythm, as the trumpet, sax, and piano take turns at the lead.
“Poor Man’s Doctor” rides a smooth bluesy melody tinged with ‘50s and ‘60s jazz hues. Toro struts his technique on the bass with tight resonant flavors accompanied by the piano. If you like backhouse blues, then “Blues 88” is right up your alley. A freewheeling piano, simmering in shades of smoky blues colors, sets up the brass section, which features a drawling, dingy sax solo full of contagious sensuality. This song is right out of a dive bar chock-a-block thick with cigarette smoke.
Other highlights on the album: “Yellow Mood,” with its elegant piano intro, flows into a measured moody tune stewing with Pearcy’s trumpet tones, lingering with tender intensity. The mood and feel of the tune is melancholic yet exquisite.
“The Defector” is a complex tune, requiring excellent technique and beau coup talent, especially on the horns. When Gratzmiller’s sax enters, the tune takes off on a whirlwind of energy, infusing the tune with depth and dimension.
My favorite track on the album is “Feelings Of Summer,” because of its blend of hard bop and hints of Spanish salsa savors.
Over the Edge is superb, full of classic jazz essences, pop zest, and fusion aromas. The Pearcy/Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet really hold it down on this album.