Andrew Cheshire

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Cheshire, who by the time of this session had left Long Island and Brooklyn to live in Milanville, Pa., is in a more pronounced musical direction. His personal sound is at times steely, stealth and under-the-surface. There's a harder edge, sharpened by a band with tenor saxophonist Richie Perry and trumpeter Kurt Weiss that gives broader definition to his written material, and a clearer understanding of how to exist in the stratosphere. Rhythm mates bassist Ron McClure and drummer Jeff Hirshfield push the proceedings along with just the right mix of spunk and taste. There's some dark brooding in the opening title track, but by the second cut "Tomorrow Is Today," a group sound emerges, similar to a Lee Morgan-Joe Henderson or Jazz Messenger brilliance. The diamond is being sliced, facets are honed, light refracts from all directions. "Earth Dance" is a waltz-to-swing, slightly latinsh vehicle, and "Eva" (for Cheshire's wife) sports another shimmering melody. "Secrets" is a loping. longing line, "Saturn" again has Blue Notable references, "Diverge" is more moody and jagged (has Cheshire admired Larry Coryell?) while the finale "Love Planet" swings lightly, Perry getting to it directly and deeply, with a very Coltrane-Michael Brecker informed sound that infuses the group from the first to last drop of music played throughout this session. Cheshire's got a tiger by the tail here, trying to tame it without getting scratched. He's chasing that elusive balance between music that is original without sounding cliched. He's also searching for his own sound and has by and large achieved it with several different stances, much as a batter adapts to each individual pitcher. Perry and McClure help tremendously in that area, while the guitarist helps himself by not overstating the obvious. His music is charmed with the amazement of life, fueled by passion, and delivered in an honest manner. You can't ask for much more of modern jazz these days.

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