November 2002

The Daniel Glass Trio - Something Colorful
Very Tall Music VT70001-2
Released: 2002

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

There aren't many jazz-trio configurations that can still create a new listening experience. However, the Daniel Glass Trio, a vibes, bass, and drum ensemble, opens up aural vistas rarely heard by jazz lovers. This makes for a more mellow presentation, but one that is no less detailed or engaging. Glass leads from the drummer’s chair, and he and his cohorts, bassist Tim Emmons and vibist Eldad Tarmu, work together so well that they speak with a single voice, instead of three competing sounds.

Musically, the Daniel Glass Trio has the chops to play inspired music -- and they have the talent to write good songs, as well as perform music written by jazz greats such as Bud Powell, Kenny Dorham, and Horace Silver, among others.

The interplay between these three musicians is remarkable. They are so well matched that none of the them towers above the others. Listening to them reminded me of Archibald McNeal Willard's famous Revolutionary War painting, "The Spirit of 76," that shows a drummer, fife player, and flag bearer marching in lockstep: three individuals with one common goal.

The press release for Something Colorful stressed that sonic considerations were as paramount as artistic ones in the creation of Very Tall Music's CDs. It lives up to that promise; it's a beautiful recording. Glass’ drums are the real standouts here (as might be expected) -- the cymbals are splashy and the sound of the drumheads has a snappy, explosive energy. The source of the sound shifts as we follow him in his explorations of his entire kit. It’s easy to hear Tarmu's mallet head strike each individual bar on his vibes, followed by the reverberant shimmer as the sound develops in the recording venue's air. The bass might have been a tad richer-sounding, but both its detail and extension were first-rate. The sound's only shortcoming is that it's a studio recording, and it's far too easy to hear the differing recording booths used. I’d love to hear Very Tall record this group live to two-track -- now that would be something!

Something Colorful is a debut album to be proud of, both for the Daniel Glass Trio and Very Tall Music. The combination of an excellent musical program with superb sound bodes well for a bright future for both groups. Glass demonstrates a gift for finding, and exploiting, the best his fellow musicians have to offer, while still holding fast the reins of leadership -- a neat trick. I will be interested in hearing what will come next from both artist and label. As it stands, Something Colorful is a wonderful recording and a welcome addition to any audiophile jazz-lover’s library.