Common Ground is an extraordinary recording. Zach Brock
and Tom Wright, two jazz violinists performing out of the Chicago area, have
put their bows together to make some of the most beautiful, vibrant new music
this reviewer has heard in some time. Despite the existence of masters like
Stephane Grappelli, Joe Venuti, and Stuff Smith, violin remains a criminally
underrated instrument in jazz. Brock and Wright not only prove (if proof were
needed) the value of violin as a jazz instrument, they also demonstrate its
versatility. From the exquisitely bowed unison passages to the dynamic solos
and pizzicato opening of the title track, Brock and Wright make full use of
their instruments. In addition, they have plugged in their instruments, adding
to their range and dynamics without resorting to gimmickry.
Of course, such an album would not be possible without an excellent rhythm section. Pianist Mike Kocour, bassist Mike Arnopol, and drummer Tom Hipskind are all at the top of their game, lending impeccable support to the leaders. Kocour in particular is a revelation. His solos crackle with energy. Arnopol and Hipskind's interactions border on telepathy.
Most of the music on the disc was written by either Brock or Wright, although their choice of covers is revealing as well. There is a joyous version of Paquito D'Rivera's "Chick", as w'll as an excellent performance of Keith Jarrett's "'Long As You Know You're Living Yours." In sum, this is a disc that deserves wide recognition. Definitely worth searching for.
Alexander M. Stern
Jazz Improv Magazine
Vol. 4, No. 3
Looking for something different? Common Ground
is for you.
Reviewer: John P. Greenspan
Looking for something different but not too way out? Then Common Ground is for you. Two straight ahead jazz violinists with a good rhythm section provide for some enjoyable listening. I have played selections form Common Ground on my jazz show and got several favorable calls about it. Deadline City is a gas.
John P. Greenspan
Host of Good Morning Jazz
KSFR 90.7 FM
Santa Fe, New Mexico