Entries tagged with “Mark Ferber”.

This review appears in the August 2012 issue of The New York City Jazz Record.

Isaac Darche
Boom-Bap!tism (BJU)

By David R. Adler

Guitarist Isaac Darche’s sophomore effort, the follow-up to his 2010 debut One More Shot, is a concise and compelling organ trio set with Sean Wayland on Hammond B-3 and Mark Ferber on drums. It’s steeped in modern harmony with an emphasis on original music — four pieces by Darche (pronounced “darsh”), three by Wayland. The relevant precedent here might be John Abercrombie’s work with Dan Wall and Adam Nussbaum, although the ballad reading of Rodgers & Hart’s “You Are Too Beautiful” recalls Wes Montgomery with Melvin Rhyne. Darche’s uptempo blues “Error and Trial” also brings the band’s fierce straightahead chops clearly into view. But even in these moments, the music is effortlessly forward-thinking, free of idiomatic clichés.

It’s no easy accomplishment in a field packed with guitarists, but Darche has found a unique sound and technical approach on the instrument. His tone is bright, his articulation blindingly fast and flawless, his rhythm consistently in the pocket but full of breath, never stiff. His lyrical ideas and tight rapport with Wayland are a pleasure from the first notes of “Beautiful,” the Wayland-penned opener. Other pieces, such as “East Gardens” and “Green Team,” have a similarly relaxed straight-eighth feel, while “Broke-Coke-Ho” and “The People Above Us” are waltz-based and “Mona Vale” is more metrically ambiguous.

Darche, also to his credit, is willing to sit back and let Wayland shine — indeed, the organist often solos first on these cuts. An Australian native with extraordinary skill on piano and other keyboards, Wayland deserves greater recognition for his fluid yet angular sensibility, and he’s very much an equal here (a co-producer of the album, in fact). It’ll be worth seeing how his partnership with Darche develops.

From the February 2011 issue of All About Jazz-New York:

Sullivan Hall was one of five venues to host Winter Jazzfest 2011, but the bookings in that room, handled by the presenting organization Revive Da Live, skewed decidedly toward a jazz/hip-hop hybrid aesthetic. That certainly didn’t mean swing was unwelcome. So on the festival’s second night (Jan. 8th), Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band swung, and without apology, offering a sound that was vehement, buoyant and transporting. Evans led from the piano but left much of the cueing to trombone veteran Frank Lacy, who bobbed and swayed to the music and palpably increased the exhilaration in the room. Bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Donald Edwards also didn’t relent. This new Philadelphia-born unit knew exactly how to tailor a short festival set — they played only three of Evans’ tunes but drove them home with urgency and heart. First came “Captain Black,” a midtempo swinger arranged by altoist Todd Bashore. Next was the furiously churning modal waltz “The Sluice,” arranged by Lacy. And last came the slow syncopated 4/4 of “Easy Now,” which Evans dedicated to recently departed Philly greats including Trudy Pitts, Sid Simmons and Charles Fambrough. As baritone saxophonist Mark Allen scaled the heights in a withering solo, the rest of the band — Chelsea Baratz and Victor North on reeds, Duane Eubanks on trumpet, Brent White on trombone, plenty more — began a melodious chant (“ea … sy … now…”) and kindled a fleeting connection with the sacred. (David R. Adler)


The atmosphere at Winter Jazzfest is thoroughly come-and-go, friendly to immersive listening but also to skimming the surfaces of the countless bands on display. So one had to hand it to the James Carney Group, which played Kenny’s Castaways on night two (Jan. 8th) and held the close attention of a good-sized crowd throughout a challenging, dynamically varied set. The band was a brass-centric, slightly smaller version of the one Carney employed on his Songlines releases Green-Wood (2007) and Ways and Means (2009). Carney’s saxophone regulars (Tony Malaby, Peter Epstein) were absent, but trombonist Josh Roseman, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Mark Ferber filled the small bandstand and wended their way through Carney’s compositions “Grassy Shoal Hoedown,” “In Lieu of Crossroads” and “The Poetry Wall,” balancing stormy and angular groove-making and quasi-minimalist abstraction. The house Fender Rhodes, as Ben Ratliff noted in the Times, gave the bands appearing at Kenny’s a too-similar sound, although the fact that Rhodes is an integral part of Carney’s canvas gave him a distinct advantage. He sounded at home, offering dense but non-claustrophobic harmony, prodding the soloists into open-ended exchanges and generous moments in the spotlight. There was a noticeable extra jolt whenever Alessi started to blow — an intensity and clarity of purpose that made all the casual listeners look up and get serious. (DA)