Terry Plumeri
Kozmigroov Albums
He Who Lives In Many Places [Airborne, 1971/75]
Ongoing [Airborne, 1978]
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Terry Plumeri is probably better known as a composer and conductor of film scores, but this recording displays his talents as a virtuoso bass player. He certainly bows his way through some amazing improvisations and he is aided and abetted in no uncertain terms, by some excellent playing from David Goldblatt and Joe La Berbera.

I like the idea of an album of standards anyway, I have heard enough albums of original compositions which are not even played again by the people who wrote them, let alone anyone else!

The music is in the style of the late Bill Evans Trio, mostly quiet and beautifully constructed, but with occasional flashes of excitement as the rapport between the three musicians develops during each number. There must be very few bass players who could hold an audience in the way that Terry manages to grip you on this album. It must be unique in the jazz world for the bowed bass to be the main solo instrument.

The three musicians work in total rapport throughout the performance, each track has itís own delights and the whole adds up to a delightful collection of performances which would and should grace the shelves of any serious jazz listener.
[The Musicweb-International.com Review of Blue In Green by Don Mather]

Imagine the bass soloist articulating melodies characterized by sounds of the bowed excursions of Slam Stewart, the legato phrasing of a tenor or baritone saxophone, with just the right touch of Ben Webster's vibrato. Then switch gears and imagine the same individual taking on the role of accompanist ó a dash of Eddie Gomez, and some Gary Peacock. With great sensitivity, his impromptu albeit highly intuitive, sensitive entrances, and brief syncopated phrases accent the piano player's lead. There's no need for further imagination at this point. Bassist Terry Plumeri provides all the evidence during the first track of his newly released album Blue In Green. Even better, the performances and solo improvisations on the parts of Plumeri on bass, David Goldblatt on piano and Joe LaBarbera on drums are outstanding throughout the range of tempos, grooves and styles they explore.

The first track "Beautiful Love" opens with Plumeri bowing the melody of this lovely standard. The medium groove intensifies as Plumeri takes on the role of accompanist offering strong support and musical seedlings to spark the group interactivity, "Blue In Green," composed by Bill Evans, and appropriated by Miles Davis as his own composition, is beautifully expressed by Plumeri. There is a seamless transition from his bowing of the melody to transitioning to pulling the strings, as Goldblatt emerges with an imaginative, lyrical solo on this ballad.

The trio picks up the pace with "Autumn Leaves." Plumeri opens the song with his signature bowing of the melody. LaBarbera and Goldblatt complement his beautifully bowed and swinging solo with apropos rhythmic and chordal punctuation. Plumeri segues into walking powerfully behind Goldblatt's solo. Goldblatt's articulation, rhythmic, harmonic and melodic vocabulary suggest Keith Jarrett as a strong influence, and the interaction between Plumeri and Goldblatt solidify that observation. LaBarbera is a superb listener, whose skill enables him to provide ideal complement to the dynamically changing landscape that Plumeri and Goldblatt create.

The group approaches "Gentle Rain" as a relaxed bossa nova. Plumeri continues to ply his skill at developing the vocal quality of the bass, through his extraordinary bowing facility. The group explores the harmonically-rich Herbie Hancock composition Dolphin Dance" at a relaxed swing tempo, and with expected flare and character. Both Plumeri and Goldblatt solo with great sensitivity, offering compelling rhythmic and lyrical statements. The contrasting sounds of their respective instruments, their melodic approaches, and stunning interactivity makes this a listen full of pleasant surprises.

The album also includes a relaxed Latin rendition of Jobim's "Corcovado" ("Quiet Night of Quiet Stars"). Plumeri's ability to get the bass to sound sometimes like a flute, or a human voice, or a string instrument, or sometimes embody a sax-like quality, combined with rhythmic imagination is fresh and enjoyable. Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" is energetic and the 3/4 feel is in keeping with the classic interpretation. Plumeri bows the head on "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk, and the piece is as haunting and beautiful as ever.

This album shows the broad scope of Terry Plumeri's abilities as a jazz player ó accompanist and soloist. He has also performed and recorded with Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, John Abercrombie and many others. His activities span the pop and classical genres as well. He has conducted his own works with the Moscow Symphony, among others and appeared as a guest soloist with among other orchestras, The Boston Pops. All of that is in addition to composing the scores for more than 40 films.

Blue In Green is an album bubbling with creativity, interactivity, magnificent improvisations, and the combined experience, sensitivity, and desire of three consummate musicians performing eight essential pieces from the jazz and standard repertoire. Go and listen.

Winthrop Bedford
Jazz Improv Magazine
[Jazz Improv Review of Blue In Green by Winthrop Bedford]

Allaboutjazz.com Review of Blue In Green by Stephen Latessa

The sound that comes from the speakers is immediately arresting. It is a groan, or a whine, or maybe a croon. It shifts and slides from position to position, defying your efforts to pin it down. Now deep and sonorous, now thin and electric as feedback, Terry Plumeri's bowed bass work is endlessly compelling. Pair it with musicians the caliber of David Goldenblatt (piano) and the great Joe La Barbera (drums) on a choice selection of standards and the effect is stunning.

Blue In Green is a flash point of classical and jazz sensibilities. The performances have the intricate formality of chamber pieces, along with the casual urge of jazz to follow inspiration wherever it may wander. Due to this risk-taking, not every track is completely successful. But in a time when the comfort of mediocrity is so tempting, daring missteps should be celebrated as much as easy achievements. For instance, the melancholy enchantment of "Corcovado" does not entirely survive this severe, nearly Gothic interpretation. And yet this misfire does nearly as much to reveal the ineffable beauty of the song as a hundred standard issue bossa nova Muzak arrangements.

On the other hand, the take of "Round Midnight" is one of the strongest pieces I've heard all year. Plumeri sounds downright odd here, exactly as off-kilter and slurred as things seem 'round midnight. There's a novel here, filled with events unsettling and hazy.

Blue In Green is an album that reviewers pray for because it fires the imagination. The listener has the uncanny experience of hearing players thinking on their feet, instead of recycling riffs they've fallen back on for years. It is challenging and astonishingly vital.

Stephen Latessa
[anonymous]

The Washington Post Review of Ongoing by Richard Harrington

Terry Plumeri's Ongoing

Plumeri is one of the most highly regarded young bass players in America: He is equally at home with jazz and classical bass and frequently performs with the National Symphony.

In fact, the National Symphony String Quartet is featured on this album, along with nationally recognized guitarists John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner and Plumeri's constant local companions, drummer Mike Smith and pianist Marc Cohen.

There are two things that allow "Ongoing" to rise head and shoulders above most other recent jazz offerings. The most immediate is the sterling quality of the recording (done at Bias in Falls Church), with immaculate attention paid to highs and lows and featuring a clearly empathetic mix. It is a quality equivalent to Manfred Eicher's work at ECM; Bill McElroy's engineering, already highly praised in local music circles, has never been better.

The second distinctive quality in Plumeri's work is his obvious dedication to composition. With exceptions like Ellington and Mingus, most composers working in the jazz idiom do little more than delineate melodies or sets of changes, leaving the hard work to capable soloists. Plumeri is more intense and in control; he builds carefully, leaving some breathing room but always certain of his voicings and shadings, always definite in his intentions.

For example, "Bornless One," the opening composition, is built upon Micheal Smith's marvelously fluid and rhythmic kalimba, an African thumb piano. Behind this celebration, Plumeri and Cohen set down sparse, mostly percussive, rather than melodic, statements. In addition, Plumeri's wordless vocals, mixed way back, give the piece an eerie, ghostly effect, it is a stunning cut one that a listener is drawn back to time and time again.

On several numbers, including the title cut, Plumeri accents his bowed-bass technique, eloquent in establishing a plaintive or contemplative mood. "Ongoing moves from a tightly defined structure to some spirited free playing and eventually into a straightahead jazz mode, complete with walking bass line. "Laura Rose," which could almost be a sound track, plays the ethereal acoustic guitar of Ralph Towner against John Abercrombie's electric, but unusual subtle voicings.

Plumeri, both as a composer and player, never overextends his abilities or overpowers with mere technique. The constantly empathetic work of his players - all of whom obviously understand his intentions - leads to a very high level of music all around.

Richard Harrington
Washington Post
[RH]

the bestest composer is yet to be
truly acknowledged: compose,Moscow
is waiting foryou,and I am in the front seat.
[peepu]

it is not worth it without you
[rosaria]

happy birthday Terry,I love you
I wish to hold you tight I wish to listen to your music now,holding hands
[la tua sempre]

terry I need you
[nilou]

I wonder how my old friend Alix is doing?
[terryplumri.com]