Pin It

CD Review: Mitch Kessler 

Mitch Kessler
(Sunjump Records, 2008)

“Wait for it.” That suspenseful phrase heard in countless cinematic moments seems to have been echoed by alto and tenor saxophonist Mitch Kessler for some time. Recorded in 2008 at NRS Studio in Catskill, the Albany resident’s long overdue debut release, Erratica, is comprised of eight originals that tumble out of the post-bop bag and feature Hudson Valley jazz stalwarts pianist John Esposito, bassist Ira Coleman, and drummer Peter O’Brien. Erratica is technically adventurous (“The Sixth Marx Brother”) as well as arrestingly cerebral (“Brain Freeze”). But it also has its strikingly tender parts, like the ballad “Bibi Andersson,” with Kessler’s wilting, wavering tones draped by the glistening runs of notes from Esposito, who produced Erratica for his Sunjump label. This group, though, seems to groove at a high-thermometer reading. After Esposito’s opening solo, “Goblins in Love” becomes aglow in white heat, tempered by the loping, melodic lines of Kessler. “Panic” is an arm-wrestling match between O’Brien and Kessler. O’Brien brings about as much smack and crackle as Kessler can propel, in short, jabbing statements. In “Deconstructing Post Modernist Dilletantism,” the ensemble jumps through narrow portals with an abandonment of fear. It’s Esposito’s proximity to Thelonious Monk and Kessler’s to saxophonist Charlie Rouse that harkens back to Monk’s tenure at the Five Spot in New York in the late ’50s. Like Monk, Esposito holds you suspended in the air during his solo, wondering when he’s gonna drop you dizzily to the ground. Erratica points straight ahead to another release by Kessler in the future.
click to enlarge cd--mitch-kesslerfinal.jpg

Speaking of...

  • Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews "Erratica" by Mitch Kessler.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The Way Home: Yungchen Lhamo

    Peter Aaron writes about the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo.
    • Feb 1, 2016
  • Sweet Celebration

    Tal National will perform at the Falcon in Marlboro on April 3 at 7pm (donation requested; (845) 236-7970;; the Half Moon in Hudson on April 4 at 8pm ($10; (518) 828-1562;; the Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts, on April 9 at 7pm ($10, $13; (413) 586-8686;; and the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy on April 12 at 7pm ($10; (518) 272-2390;
    • Apr 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson

  • CD Review: Honey Ear Trio

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Honey Ear Trio's album "Steampunk Serenade."
    • Dec 29, 2011
  • CD Review: Michelle LeBlanc

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Michelle LeBlanc's album "I Remember You"
    • Nov 30, 2011
  • CD Review: David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter's new album "Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast."
    • Oct 28, 2011
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets