The group's moniker Time," refers to the drummer's pivotal role as the syncopated timekeeper, often heralding the rhythms of life. Hoch dances and darts with the band, while providing buoyant rhythmic support, amid accents executed with small percussion instruments. He doesn't steal the show, but employs a lofty degree of musicality.
Tinged with shrewdly-placed dynamics and subliminally designed textures, the musicians' sprightly rendition of Sam Rivers' Beatrice" offers a glimpse of how the band generates a heartfelt muse. It's an active unit, propelled by Hoch's intricately engineered swing grooves and polyrhythmic fills. Check out Schuller's wordless harmonic unison statements with his bass lines, often emitting a faint vocal element throughout. On Wayne Shorter's Yes and No," Friedman sets the pace with understated enactments of the primary melody, amid the rhythm section's gently surging pulses.
Orthodox Judaism and jazz are rarely rendered in the same breath except in the case of master drummer Reuben Hoch. Reared as an orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, NY, Hoch attended Jewish parochial schools and eventually graduated from Yeshiva University. His interest in music was sparked by Chassidic niggunim (songs) mostly liturgical in nature. As a child he prayed in the synagogue of the Munkatcher Chassidim in Boro Park, Brooklyn. By age fourteen, the jazz bug stung him via the music of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Constant devotion and exposure to the jazz vernacular throughout high school led to playing and recording engagements with Valerie Ponomaerov, Dave Liebman, Lonnie Plaxico, Jim Pepper, Ron McClure, Jeff Andrews, Leni Stern, Joey Calderazzo, Greg Osby, Zaviot jazz Quartet and others. He recorded several albums with his group The RH Factor, highlighting his original compositions.
Hoch eventually created the Chassidic Jazz Project, which fuses jazz, chamber and world music. The Chassidic Jazz Project received accolades throughout the music industry. The ensemble's CD Live at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (RH Factor Records), featuring Don Friedman and Bobby Thomas Jr., is an exceptional work that truly depicts the potential of traditional Jewish music enveloped through the kaleidoscopic frameworks of Hoch's creativity.
But, as Hoch puts it, Man does not live on Chassidic jazz alone." He therefore joined with the prestigious Naim Label through longtime friend, Ken Christianson. A brilliant recording engineer, Christianson has a long history of capturing jazz artists in a very organic way through a two-microphone technique recorded to the open- reel Nagra Recorder. He has recorded and produced artists such as Charlie Haden, John Taylor, Laurence Hobgood, Kurt Elling, Paul Wertico and other celebrated artists. What Hoch shares in common with these stylists is his dedication to innovation and conceptualities.
Don Friedman is a highly acclaimed jazz pianist, quoted as having the chops of Ahmad Jamal, the elegance of Tommy Flanagan, the poetry of Bill Evans and the imagination of Keith Jarrett." He has performed with Dexter Gordon, Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker and a then unknown alto saxophonist, Ornette Coleman.
Ed Schuller's technique boasts a full-bodied, organic tone to complement his fluent mode of attack, setting a paradigm of sorts for his stature as a first-call session artist, having recorded/performed with luminaries such as Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell and Paul Motian.
Of Recent Time is a True Stereo recording by Ken Christianson of Pro Musica, Chicago. The Naim label is a subsidiary of Naim Audio from Salisbury, England. Naim's US distributor can be contacted at (773) 883-9500.