Peter Arthur Loeb and his One Man Band "Four Of Me" (PAL Music)
This CD of Peter Arthur Loeb's has become one my favorite jazz CDs. "Four Of Me has vaulted to the top of the heap of my CD collection. The song selection and adaptation proves one mans quest as a creative force.
All of these compositions are fresh and vital to this music. Case in point, there's a whole world of music out there waiting to be transformed into personal song by willing interpreters, but judging from the basic repertoire of mainstream jazz, you might never know it. With that said, that is one of the reasons I really enjoy Peter's playing and concept! If the dearth of truly distinctive contemporary jazz composers is a commonplace grumble, the reliance on popular standards composed from the 1930s to the late '50s -- the so-called golden age of American songwriting -- can grow just as irksome.
The repertoire could, by now, use a dose of fresh, revivifying blood, just for variety's sake. And look no further-here is an example of someone who can take those creative steps, and gives you something fresh and fun to listen to. On this recent recording , " Four Of Me" the saxophonist,pianist,bassist and drummer Peter Arthur Loeb dives headfirst into a deep pool of sumptuous melodies. Now for the most interesting part of this recording.
From a different standpoint, jazz represents the ultimate synthesis of independence and dependence. E.G.- the majority of jazz takes place in a small group which at its core represents participatory democracy at work. Though jazz places importance on finding and expressing ones individuality, it also demands cooperation and teamwork for the greater musical good. There is a delicate balance called for between selflessness and ego, personified in trying to achieve a unified ensemble sound and equally, memorable individual solos. Subtle social skills which are a prerequisite for any group interaction in everyday life are called upon in the typical jazz group, albeit using the language of music as the vehicle. By playing all the instruments in this quartet setting, you think of these values. In this aspect, Mr. Loeb is a man of vast and inspirational knowledge.
There are parts of his comping on piano that made me think of Jaki Byard. The way he played drums, and just stoked the compositions blew my mind! Not to mention the bass playing, and solid time feel he gets on that. The tenor playing is just out of this world! Great personal sound, huge and really internalized. I just adore his sound. But to go further, it is necessary to make a distinction between art and craft. Craft implies mastering technique to the degree that a craftsman is competent enough to skillfully reproduce the artifacts of the given art form. This means that one can sound convincing using the rules and customs of the music, no mean feat by the way. But art on the other hand utilizes and transcends mere technique to communicate the personal feelings of the artist in whatever manner. With this in mind, I have to say Peter Arthur Loeb has created artistic expression and arrived at true individual freedom.The overall goal of any serious jazz musician.And, he's done it in a context that is amazing when you think about it.
His fine tuning of the intellect intertwined with physical coordination on all these instruments is on the highest level.His intellect has to have stored an incredible amount of technical data in order to reproduce this information upon demand in this spontaneous jazz setting. Loeb's fascinations with the worlds of jazz and multi-instrumentalism is what binds this album. He gets a voluptuous sound on his horn and speaks in a stylistic dialect that draws on modern jazz in all its permutations while retaining its own steadfast personality. Peter Arthur Loeb loves the good old tunes as much as anyone.Check out "Boo Hoo" The music is radically transformed, of course, but the timeless grace of the melodies is always respected and communicated with undisguised love.But, that is what jazz is supposed to be!
Also check out his charming originals, " Four Of Me" -- which obviously thrives on the challenge of the unexpected. His stunning tunes such as " B-B" should have their place in the jazz repertoire, and Loeb more than proves that they deserve to be there. This recording presents a remarkably eclectic, thoroughly engaging set of music. Loebs playing is incredibly creative. Peter Arthur Loeb is a modern jazz musician, and this is a fantastic album showcasing his phenomenal abilities. Without a doubt he should be on a major label, doing all the great festivals and playing world wide as a jazz artist. Loeb is one of the most important musicians in today's music...an artist of integrity and independent direction. I cant do this recording enough justice, except to say that it is different from any other jazz CD I have (I dig the cover art, as well). The music is the quintessence of "breathtaking." The storytelling poetry and conflagrant rhythms will hold your attention from the opening notes of "Boo Hoo" all the way through the final seconds of "Timeless." I could not possibly recommend any other album more highly than this one. If you are a music lover in the purest sense, you have to own this CD. Peter's commitment alone will endear you to some of the most talented and passionate artists ever.
Bottom line: Highly, highly recommended music played by a musician who deserves wider attention. Buy it thru- http://www.palserv.com. Or E mail PAL@palserv.com. By the way Peter, where ever Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sidney Bechet are now, I'm sure they are both smiling upon you.Keep on!
Tim Price- Saxophone Journal Nov-December 2003 Review