Adam Deitch Quartet: Egyptian Secrets
Jamband fans know all about those Brooklyn funksters Lettuce and their remarkable drummer, Adam Deitch. And they know about his project with Borahm Lee, Break Science.
But perhaps you missed this amazing jazz album released last year by The Adam Deitch Quartet titled Egyptian Secrets. For this great project, Deitch selected Lettuce bandmates Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (trumpet & effects) and Ryan Zoidis (tenor and alto saxophones, Korg x911) and Hammond B3 master Wil Blades, who also handles the bass. And, on three of the 13 tracks, guitarist John Scofield guests.
“Dot Org” is straight out of ’60s Blue Note and Prestige heaven. Bloom and Zoidis operate, as always, as a unit, their harmonies gorgeous. Bloom has a great solo first. The solo by Blades is excellent, and it is great hearing the balance of the B3 with the bass pedals. Then Zoidis has a lovely understated turn on tenor. Meanwhile, Deitch is creating magic all through the song.
The source material now is that funky ’70s soul jazz for “Rocky Mountain Boogaloo”; think Leon Spencer, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, and the host of great funksters from that era. Scofield solos first on top of Blades and Deitch. Then Bloom has an extended outing, followed by Blades. At the end, Scofield soars as the band vamps.
“Egyptian Secrets” boasts a powerful groove. This one is a Bloom feature, playing straight ahead and with effects, sandwiched between the horns stating the melody. Blades’ B3 washes over Bloom’s long outing.
“Fear of the Blades” delivers precisely what it implies, although there is no fear when Blades takes the keyboard reins. Bloom solos early, and Zoidis takes a great one after Blades spreads that “fear.”
Deitch adds a quick “Language Interlude 1” solo before “Progressions” fires up, again superb ’60s jazz. Bloom and Zoidis are impossibly tight here (and throughout the album), and Deitch dances over the rims as well as the drum heads.
Scofield has a great opportunity to stretch out on “Art Bar,” which features a sort of “Freedom Jazz Dance”-type laid-back groove. Blades also lays down more of that Hammond B3 magic, all propped up by Deitch’s beat, the horns so sweet. Finally, Zoidis has the last word on alto.
“The Way You Make Me Feel” is treated as an uptempo shuffle blues, Blades and Bloom stating the initial theme. It’s soulful, almost gospel-like. Zoidis plays alto through an effects pedal before Scofield twists the melody around in his last appearance on the album. Bloom also takes a leisurely muted stroll. Honestly, every song here is a joy. Blades’ B3 jolts “Do Better” to life. Zoidis picks up tenor here for a fine solo here in this finely constructed tune. Any one of these tracks would have fit perfectly into any jazz radio playlist from the ’60s on.
There is such a relaxed pace introduced in “Summer is Here.” Once again, the balance of the four players is sheer perfection. Everybody is heard to best advantage. Kudos to John Davis of Bunker Studios in Brooklyn for the recording and mix and to Kevin Reeves of Universal Mastering New York.
“Language Interlude 2” is another brief Deitch workout, but his playing on every track outdistances this pleasant break. “Dot Org Take Two” is a perfect bookend along with the opening “Dot Org” for this album from Mr. Deitch. Bloom/Zoidis again make the sweetest of music. Then solos roll out from Bloom, Blades, and Zoidis (alto).
Finally, there is “Mr. Clark’s Message,” a 51-second phone voicemail from Mike Clark, one of the first great fusion drummers and a member of the original Headhunters. Clark raves about the album and points out that he checked it out a second time:
I know you guys did a record. I listened to it twice; I never do that! Usually, I listen to something once and say, ‘Yeah, man.’ But that was killin’, man! I loved it!
That’s five stars plus right there, ladies and gentlemen! Lettuce give you some advice: give Messieurs Deitch, Bloom, Zoidis, Blades, and Scofield a spin!