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Hessler-Cabrillo Run Down (2010)

Hessler-Cabrillo Run Down.jpg

Joshua Smith – Keigo Hirakawa

Joshua Smith (tenor)

Keigo Hirakawa (piano)

Kurt Kotheimer (bass)

John Shifflett (bass)

Hamir Atwal (drums)

Tim Bulkley (drums)


Joshua Smith used to lead a trio called Birth who had two CDs out in the nineties (one on Hopscotch) when the trio was living in the NYC area. Mr. Smith has since moved to the Bay Area where this disc was recorded. The only other musician here with whom I am previously familiar is bassist John Shifflett, who has worked with Scott Amendola and Will Bernard. This is a strong, spirited quartet with Joshua’s full-bodied tenor sailing superbly on top. Many of the pieces are relatively short with the sax and piano rustling gracefully together. The songs sound more like sketches with lots of tight interplay between are four musicians, all sailing together in a series of somber waves. There is a nice, dreamy quality to some of these pieces, unrushed and calm at times. “Street Guy” has that hypnotic “In a Silent Way” like rhythm although sped up a bit and then escalating faster as it evolves. This quartet sounds like they were influenced by the Trane Quartet but without going out too far. A strong date nonetheless.

– Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

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