Jun 9 2017
My first reaction to the latest from pianist Randy Ingram is that it’s fine. My second listen landed a similar opinion: Sure, it’s an enjoyable recording. I like it. And, later, after additional listens, the album’s impact stayed locked in on that same level of agreeableness. At some point, it dawned on me just how many times I was returning to this album that I never really felt that strongly about.
I have a busy listening schedule and I simply do not have time to devote to albums that aren’t forging a connection. But The Wandering has hung around my listening queue, and that isn’t something that occurs accidentally. Somehow and at some point, the music struck a chord in me, and I guess it just never dulled. All evidence points to the music making an impression, all without my noticing. This isn’t a common occurrence. Hell, it’s not even an uncommon occurrence. And yet, here I am, compelled to recommend the album with some warm words of admiration. And this isn’t one those trite misdirects where a writer makes you think he’s going to pan a recording but instead says it’s the best thing ever. I still don’t have strong feelings about The Wandering, and yet its play count is up near the top in my 2017 playlist, and as I sit here typing this up, I’m thinking that the album would make a nice addition to my early-morning-don’t-fuck-with-my-tranquility listening regiment.
This duo collaboration between Ingram and bassist Drew Gress has a conversant demeanor, but the chatter never grows hurried or blithely dishes out notes without first considering both tone and meaning. The intros to “Guimarães” and “The Peacocks” radiate an intense melodic focus, but the duo prefers to drift along, and that’s often how a song is rolled out. There’s some renditions. The duo takes Wayne Shorter’s “Chief Crazy Horse,” Bill Evans’ “Show-Type Tune” and Kenny Wheeler’s “Three for D’reen” for a spin. It’s nice. But the gems of this recording are embodied by the original compositions. With the former category, Ingram and Gress embrace the compositions with a respectable amount of care and reverence. But it’s on the originals that the duo treats things as an immersive experience, and they don’t play the notes so much as breathe them out. As a consequence, it provides that subtle, but resonant, extra dose of life, and it’s one that makes all the difference in the world.
Your album personnel: Randy Ingram (piano) and Drew Gress (bass).
Released on Sunnyside Records.
Listen to another album track at the label’s Bandcamp page.
Music from NYC.