Album Title: Standards
Performer: The Nuttree Quartet
Label and #: Kind of Blue Records 10023
Play Time:
Recorded: 2008

Supported, fortified and fired up by Adam Nussbaum's muscularly flowing drumming, The Nuttree Quartet's Standards is a breezily blowing session of the highest order. Joined with Jerry Bergonzi's practically spiritual and freedom-filled tenor solos, John Abercrombie's deep-bowelled guitar chords and organist Gary Versace's permeating Hammond B3 glue, the quartet brings collective expert ease to every track.

There are no gimmicks nor tricks here, no hotshot young guns, no PR tie-ins to attract any other audience than the one who knows the real deal when they hear it. Playing standards may be as old as Job but what better way to weigh in on the state of the art performed by deep-grooved modern day masters? Nuss's open tribal-inflected solo in "Footprints" gives way to a mad mambo/straightahead ride, his every whap! and pop! stoking the fires under Bergonzi followed by a wily wiry Abercrombie. Bergonzi cuts loose like a Mt. Everest climber on the medium hot swing of "Sometime Ago", his brawny declaration followed by a sweetly carefree Abercrombie. "Witchcraft" begins like a séance interlude, with Versace playing eerie minor-chord thrums before the familiar melody stated by Bergonzi takes hold. Seesawing between darkness and light, the quartet ultimately plays it surreal. Jackie Paris' "Israel" swings in lovely 3/4 time followed by Monk's infrequently covered "Eronel" and another equally untouched gem, Wayne Shorter's "12 Bars to Go".

Standards is medium-tempo burnished blowing through and through: the sound of relaxation, mastery and might.