This is the kind of jazz I like: relaxed but not too much. Sexy but tastefully done. Soothing but not a doozer. This is Quartet (Wiggling Air) by Bruce Kaphan, and for fans of ECM-style of jazz, they will love this that comes off flawless to the touch.
What I like about this is that while its core is jazz, it tends to move around with country and classical in a way that welcomes it rather than try to focus on it to be different. It’s the fabric of the music Kaphan and his quartet enjoy, a bit like what you might expect if Bruce Hornsby would sound like if he became a jazz artist. It sounds like the kind of music you might hear on a TV show or soundtrack from mid to late 1970′s, and then Pat Metheny comes into the mix (metaphorically speaking) and wants to sit in for the ride. Kaphan plays a mighty fine pedal steel guitar and maintains his power throughout each of these songs without going overboard. I’m someone who doesn’t mind a musician getting freaky/experimental with their slide guitar, but he’s a tasteful musician who plays with feeling and keeps to it until the songs eventually come to a conclusion. The majority of songs are Kaphan originals, but I found his cover of Joe Zawinul‘s “Birdland” to be quite nice, and one that I hope brings more people to Kaphan’s work.