To my ears, Marty Ehrlich has emerged as a significant figure in the New York "downtown" sound that I often soak my ears in. The appeal of his Dark Woods Ensemble is immediate with the arrangements and instrumentation (including the incredible Erik Friedlander on cello). Emergency Peace and particularly Just Before the Dawn are long-time favorite spins for HurdAudio and the double-CD Live Wood on the Music&Arts label is an intense live dosage of this great material. I also regard his long-form composition The Long View as a great opus with immediate appeal for the arrangements and personnel.
But I'd never really warmed up to New York Child before today. It completely struck a great nerve for me as I found the right moment to experience it. Here Ehrlich leads a "straight ahead" jazz quintet (with the great Uri Caine on piano) that celebrates a more traditional approach to jazz. And yet the attentive ear will catch some fresh moments and intricate arrangements that keep this sound alive and fresh within the deceptive confines of this "traditional" instrumentation. This is a collection of Ehrlich original compositions that seem destined to join the "standards book" in a vibrant evolution of jazz music and culture.