A Scent in Motion Review for jazzchicago.net
Michael Jefry Stevens is a Memphis-based pianist/composer who leads several different groups. Well-known in Europe, he is sadly unrecognized and undervalued here in the States. His recording, For Andrew (see our review here.) is an exhilarating, outing, while this one, recorded in 1994 and released this year, is also exceptional and serves to add to his growing reputation. With bassist Steve Rust and drummer Harvey Sorgen, this outstanding trio runs the gamut from rocking ("Sentry") to left-of-center balladic ("Fairy Tale," Something You Said") with out and out improv ("Camco"), avant-leaning excursions ("Cpac," "Freedom of Choice") and moody atmospheres ("Magic Meadow" ). Bassist Rust shares the songwriting burden with Stevens and brings a muscular bass to the scene (love his quote of "Someone to Watch Over Me" on "Magic Meadow"), while Sorgen is an imaginative, sensitive force on his kit. Stevens is fearless, bringing a Andrew Hill-esque love of daring piano adventures to a new audience. Many great pieces, played very well with great feeling from the trio, ending with Stevens' highly memorable "Spirit Song." I would hope that imaginative and open-minded listeners here in the US would tune into Stevens and his compatriots as they are making music that speaks to the true essence of jazz for the future.