Just Add Water

LABELS: Palmetto
ALBUM TITLE: Bobby Previte & Bump
PERFORMER: Ray Anderson (tb), Marty Ehrlich (ts), Wayne Horvitz (p), Steve Swallow (b), Bobby Previte (d), Joseph Bowie (tb)


Since rising to prominence on the crest of the ‘downtown’ wave in the early Eighties, drummer/composer Bobby Previte has epitomised that influential movement’s restless eclecticism and open-eared adventurousness.

His own projects, ranging from the relatively straightahead mid-sized jazz combo Weather Clear, Track Fast, through the more electronically oriented Empty Suits, to the avant-rock bar-band Latin for Travelers, draw on everything from John Adams-style minimalism to film music, as well as jazz and rock, but whatever the genre in which his widely disparate bands operate, Previte himself is right at the centre of the action, bristling with energy, driving and embellishing whatever they’re playing.

Bump has its origins in an early band, caught on an early Previte release, Bump the Renaissance, but the material on this album has grown from extensive European touring in the late Nineties. Previte’s music ranges from bright, joyous, bustling themes to lush tenor ballads, from basic funk to multi-layered, slow-building pieces that skilfully utilise the telling contrast between Marty Ehrlich’s almost classically pure tenor tone and the slurs, growls and other ‘human’ sounds produced by Ray Anderson’s trombone.


It is at once thoughtful and infectiously exuberant, carefully constructed and irresistibly uplifting. All the band-members, save the peerless electric bassist Steve Swallow, are long-time Previte associates, and the rapport between them – particularly on such vigorous fare as the lengthy, rousing opener ‘Put Away Your Crayons’ – is the key to the album’s considerable subtlety and power. Chris Parker