Jazz Institute of Chicago

Jeff Parker/Bernard Santacruz/Michael Zerang: Vega

Jeff Parker/Bernard Santacruz/Michael Zerang: Vega

Recorded live at Les 7 Lézards—a jazz club in Paris—“Vega” documents the first two performances by a trio comprised of Chicagoans Jeff Parker (g) and Michael Zerang (d), and French bassist Bernard Santacruz. This unlikely encounter can be credited to Alexandre Pierrepont—a French writer and ethnomusicologist who has been frequently visiting Chicago in the past few years.

Listening to this recording, their meeting seems quite natural as the three musicians share a communal approach to music making. No ego gets in the way and they all do their utmost to serve the music. They are also very sensitive players who carefully listen to what the others have to say.

Most of the music is improvised and develops organically with great care and patience. Once again, one is impressed by Zerang’s attention to detail and his unique way of being all over the kit without sounding bombastic or overwhelming. Despite a brash and dissonant introduction on the opening piece, guitarist Jeff Parker shows restraint and concentrates on producing rather straightforward lines. The same can be said of Santacruz who favors solid and original grooves.

If the mood is subdues, Vega remains a challenging affair. The highlight is arguably Santacruz’s delicate and melodious “White Horses.” Sequenced as the centerpiece, it provides a marvelous reprieve.-Alain Drouot

Available at the Jazz Record Mart.

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