Artist: Bruce Ditmas, John Abercrombie
Album: What If
Label: Postcards Records
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
1. Island Seven (10:12)
2. What If (10:21)
3. Clever Conversation (7:52)
4. 3348 Big Easy – Deep Blue Sleep (3:19)
5. 3348 Big Easy – Thursday Nite Special (7:18)
6. 3348 Big Easy – Voodoo Street Beat (4:09)
7. Pulp (8:00)
8. Power Surge (3:46)
9. Don’t Wake Me (4:55)
Bruce Ditmas; Drums:
John Abercrombie; Guitars:
Paul Bley; Piano & Synthesizers:
Dominic Richards; Bass:
Sam Rivers; Tenor & Soprano Saxophone.
Bruce Ditmas, as geniuses as diverse as Gil Evans, the Brecker Brothers, Paul Bley, Pat Metheny, and Barbra Streisand could attest, has “live time:” you just can’t sit still when he plays drums. “What If,” is his debut disc as a leader, and he creates music that both is forward-looking and pays its respects to every jazz epoch that’s ever been. What If swings like mad throughout and, along the way, visits some extraordinarily compelling and vivid musical vistas.
Drummer Bruce Ditmas used to wonder “what if?” What if he could bring together a stellar group of players — like guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Paul Bley, saxophonist Sam Rivers, and bassist Dominic Richards? What if he could make an album of aggressive improvisational music with no compromises that would perfectly represent his modern approach to music and drumming?
He found out when he assembled those very players at New York’s Electric Lady studios to record What If, released on the Postcards label. “The whole idea behind What If was the potential for discovering the unknown,” Ditmas says. “I wanted to set up situations that would feature all of these musician’s talents. I just took it for granted that the music would happen because of the people I was bringing together, and I was not disappointed. These guys were fabulous and their improvisations were amazing.”
Paul Bley was Ditmas’s first-choice keyboardist for the album. “We did a record together in the ’70s with Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny, and that was so great,” Ditmas says. “So I wanted him for the unique harmonic base he would provide. And I had to have John Abercrombie because he’s the only guitar player who has the rhythmic concept I needed. As soon as my producer, Ralph Simon, suggested Sam Rivers, I knew he was the perfect horn player. And I’ve been working with Dominic Richards for a while now. He has a lot of roots and he’s a real good listener.”
Holding it all together is Ditmas, who incorporates a lot of drums, as opposed to cymbals, in his timekeeping. “I like to think of the entire drumset as a functional color,” Ditmas says. “I think there’s a little rock influence in there too, in terms of the in-your-face style of really playing the drums upfront.”