Half Notes: Peter Scherr – Son Of August (2011)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Scherr is an American jazz bassist who resides in Hong Kong and spends his time trying to foster creative music within China. A few years ago, he got the urge to fulfill a longtime goal of making music with saxophonist Michael Blake, and he wanted to make sure it was going to be done right. So, he headed over halfway around the globe to NYC where the studio Brooklyn Recording is located and pulled together some of his favorite musicians for the session. That meant his brother Tony on guitar (and a second bass for one track), Mike Sarin on drums and Brad Shepik on a second guitar. Scherr likes Blake for his soulful, gruff but warm tenor sound, and made the music fit perfectly around it; listen to the slow blues rock of “August” for a good place to find just how well the music meshes with the man. Though Scherr set out to do an album that walks the line between jazz and rock, the two-guitar lineup and the forceful playing of Sarin put this more over on the rock side. That’s okay, as it still rocks with some swing, mainly due to the boppish, rhythmically precise playing of Scherr himself. Shepik sounds as loose and relaxed as I’ve ever heard him; his solo on the funky “Son Of August” is righteously bluesy with a bit of an edge. “Lucky 13” is an exception in that it is pretty much straight-up jazz and the group plays with a laid back but steady stride. Son Of August, out on Scherr’s own 1 Hour Music label, is heady—and head-nodding—fusion that was well worth the thirty-six hour flight Peter Scherr endured in order to make this record a reality.

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