An energetic, creative band led by the rock solid Jim Ketch shines with fine performances…the music is accessible yet deeply entrenched with the ‘real deal’…creative band with clever surprises throughout!
”This CD offers something for everyone. From the powerful and forward moving Not At This Time to the sultry and funky final track Strasbourg/St. Denis a lot of great music takes place.
The band is very in tune with each other and the music. The improvisation is grounded, yet free of clichés. One of the most impressive traits of the CD is how creative the band is used both in terms of the great variety of solo order throughout the recording, as well as, the organic and creative nature of each arrangement. We find clever surprises throughout, such as the energetic drum solo at the end of Not At This Time, or the way the bass solos are used in My One and Only Love as transitions between the trumpet and piano statements.
The imagination and wit displayed in the organization of the material, in combination with Jim Ketch’s hard driving yet flexible trumpet playing gives this recording a fresh unique quality that will provide many hours of listening pleasure to many jazz fans.”
“Most mainstream jazz these days remains rooted in the 1960s, a time noted for hard bop, pentatonic scales, modal harmonies, increasing use of African and South American influences and the introduction of jazz-rock and electronic keyboards.
Jim Ketch’s ‘A Distant View’ (Summit) fits solidly in this groove – like echoes from a golden age. Ketch, a trumpet and flugelhorn player who heads the Jazz Studies program at UNC-Chapel Hill and also directs the N.C. Jazz Repertory Orchestra, projects a bright, optimistic sound on his instruments while he maintains an articulate flow of ideas. His quintet – with tenor saxophonist Dave Finucane, pianist Stephen Anderson, bassist Jeffry Eckels and drummer Ross Pederson – is an ideal vehicle for the ongoing refinement of modern mainstream jazz.
While electric piano is employed on Roy Hargrove’s ‘Strasbourg/St. Denis’ and Ketch’s ‘Savannah’s Swinging’ is a cooking Latin tune, the remainder of the performances are strictly acoustic and straight-ahead.
Ketch’s title tune evokes a reflective mood through the use of certain scales and harmonic colors. Tom Harrell’s ‘Sail Away’ inhabits some of the same emotional space but is more lighthearted. Jerome Kern’s ‘Long Ago and Far Away,’ Dewey Redman’s angular ‘Dewey’s Tune’ and Marcus Robert’s ‘You Won’t Believe Me When I Tell You This’ are hard-hitting performances steeped in the ethos of the Blue Note and Riverside record labels of the ’60s.
Ketch’s sidemen are a versatile team. Finucane, who teaches at Duke and UNC, has an aggressive, light-and-dark, stop-and-go approach reminiscent of the late tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. Anderson, who also teaches at UNC and has recorded two trio albums on the Summit label, is a deliberate-sounding player who ranges from delicate, fluid lines to slamming, McCoy Tyner-like eruptions. Eckels and Pederson are as solid and adaptable as many better known bass-and-drums combinations.” – OWEN CORDLE for Music