Published Apr 29, 2016Solo works of any kind give great insight into the character of an artist: the way he or she thinks, how the thought processes play out in terms of timing and the way the imagination affects the relationship to instrument and music. It's at once complex and pointedly simple.
Ali Berkok's first solo effort could well have come from a senior artist with several releases behind them; the emotional and intellectual depth of both the original work and interpretations of works by Berlin, Coltrane and Meath/Sanborn display a willingness to consider everything possible and not be restricted to a set mode of interpretation. "Cheek to Cheek" does not fully reveal itself until well into the piece, and when it does, it doesn't stay long in the song, choosing to seamlessly morph from gaiety to introspection to incisive attack. Coltrane's "Giant Steps" transforms from a traditionally ferocious cutting contest to a sonorous Monkism, revealing its complex inner workings devoid of the opaque shred-fests normally associated with this piece.
The original works display no less inspiration and craft. The dance between "Prerhythmia" and "Arrythmia" is a potent exploration of dialogue between two separate songs, as one is immediately struck by when one follows the other in the order of tracks. The titular composition, meanwhile, is a fine example of intelligent and emotionally grounded work, and displays a maturity and breadth hardly ever found in a first time outing. Never Get Lost For Long is stupendous. (All-Set!)