- Artist: Jay Epstein
- Format: CD
- Release Date:9/18/2007
Media Reviews: JAZZTIMES - 'Long Ago'. Drummer Jay Epstein leads an energetic, sometimes dark and eerie, 12-tune trio session with bassist Anthony Cox and pianist Bill Carrothers. While the threesome draws influences from the famed Keith Jarrett Trio, this is no copy-cat crew. Interacting intelligently and showing individual melody-based sensitivity, they refreshen the straightahead standards and two Epstein originals with seasoned artistry. Peak musical moments abound, especially Epstein's traps actions, to make this a unique and pleasurable listen. (Nancy Ann Lee) CADENCE MAGAZINE - 'Long Ago'. Jay Epstein leads a most adventurous piano trio session where Carrothers matches the lyrical abandon of Keith Jarrett in a stunning version of Kenny Wheeler's ballad 'Heyoke.' Epstein's brooding 'Balloons Over Pain' shows how freely the trio can improvise; his atmospheric cymbals and Cox's arco join prepared piano in a performance that flows into a disturbing atonal version of 'Keep The Home Fires Burning' as skewed harmonies bring to mind Ran Blake, while the final 'I'll Be Seeing You,' at ultra-slow tempo, conveys haunted intensity that ends in a spiral motif, a delicate moment of psychotic obsession very reminiscent of Blake. 'Long Ago' showcases splendid rapport in the interplay of the title track, spirited contrapuntal exploration of Miles Davis's 'Solar' and driving modal romp through Wayne Shorter's 'Lost.' The uptempo 'You And The Night And The Music' showcases Epstein's command of complex rhythmic dynamics as his dazzling cymbal and snare work extends the lineage of Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette. Cox is typically inventive as he structures compelling solos in 'Orion,' 'Long Ago & Far Away,' 'Beautuful Love,' 'Lost,' 'You & The Night & The Music', and 'Solar'. Excellent musicianship combines with an imaginative program to make 'Long Ago' highly recommended. (David Lewis) CITY PAGES - 'Long Ago'. When you're a drummer putting out your first trio record, you can't do much better than bassist Anthony Cox and pianist Bill Carrothers. But on 'Long Ago', Epstein pretty well justifies the company with a solid outing that sweats the details. He splashes the cymbals like a couple of legendary Joneses--sometimes wet like Elvin, sometimes deft like Philly Joe--and engages his bandmates with a level of traditional craft and wistful poignancy that echoes the CD's title. The menu is a nice mix of classic standards (like Kern and Gershwin's 'Long Ago & Far Away'), smart bop covers (Miles's 'Solar' and Wayne Shorter's 'Lost'), and creative Epstein originals, particularly 'Balloons Over Pain,' a brooding tune that features Cox's bow and anchors the superb 'Dark Suite' song trilogy in the middle of the disc. Playing Monday, 8 P.M. Dakota Bar & Grill, Bandana Square, St. Paul; 642-1442. (Brit Robson) STAR TRIBUNE - 'Long Ago'. Listen up: An all-star trio's passion play! There is a reason drummer Epstein has become one of the most requested players in the Twin Cities. It's the way he gets such melodic expressiveness from the drum set through intricate cymbal combinations, with a high-tuned sound that soars above most other players' vision of the instrument's potential (the influential Paul Motian excluded). Epstein's debut as a leader unites him with two of the other most acclaimed and advanced local players: bassist Anthony Cox and pianist Bill Carrothers, who defy listeners' preconceptions as they further Epstein's vision. Carrothers, heard on two recent Blue Note albums by drummer Bill Stewart (and just relocated to New York), is a very choosy session player. This sometime firebrand is given plenty of room here, but he explores it with a calm, creative touch. Cox, in contrast to his jazz-rock headhunting in local groups such as Starry Eyed Lovelies, gives his partners abundant support and space throughout. Even the track sequencing is inspired, opening with a group of beautiful standards that stretch the ears for a three-piece, subdued middle section, suitably titled 'The Dark Suite.' The collection closes with a string of tributes to modern giants: Wayne Shorter ('Lost'), Kenny Wheeler ('Heyoke') and Miles Davis ('Solar'), capping off an album that never sacrifices deep passion for raw power. Epstein, Cox and Carrothers perform Monday at the Dakota Bar and Grill in St. Paul. (Jim Meyer)
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