AMN Reviews: Base 4 – Axes of Symmetry

a2591528024_2Base 4, the trio of Bruce Friedman (trumpet), Derek Bomback (guitar) and Alan Cook (drums), offers something old made new: A set of creatively dismantled jazz standards connected by freely improvised interludes.

The selection of standards is an eclectic one, encompassing the well-known (Afro Blue, Straight, No Chaser, My Funny Valentine) and the less familiar  (Lawns, Las Vegas Tango, Peacocks, If You Never Come to Me). Although these songs are played freely they remain recognizable through what’s retained of them: Fragments of melody, harmonic passages, and ambience. The improvised interludes provide context by conserving and extending the exploratory work set out in the standards.

The playing is engaging throughout. Friedman’s trumpet brings an introspective feeling to the music, eschewing quick runs and pyrotechnics in favor of a ruminative voice in the middle register. Bomback imparts a warm, round tone and knows when harmonies are best left implied, while Cook’s crisp drumming adds color and gentle support, never overwhelming the overall balance of sound.

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