reviews for fourth World


James Emery: acoustic guitar, composer
Joe Lovano: tenor, soprano, C melody, straight alto saxophones, alto clarinet, bells, shakers, gongs, log drums & drums, composer 
Judi Silvano: flute & voice   Drew Gress: acoustic bass

Between The Lines Records (btl 020)

All Music Guide
by Steven Loewy

"Several unusual aspects of this recording stand out. First, there is the utter versatility of Joe Lovano, who penned several of the tunes, and performs convincingly on a variety of instruments, including drums.

Next is the mix of players - acoustic guitar and bass, sax, and voice make up the core of the ensemble, with varied combinations on each tune.

Finally, there is the essentially conservative, melodic content. James Emery, in particular, focuses on writing beautiful lines. A perfect example is his simple, though attractive, "Hannah's Song," which closes the album.

Judi Silvano's flute work adds an extra dimension, although she is heard mostly in her customary role as a scat singer. While some of the pieces drift a bit, Emery's acoustic guitar pleases with its nuance and intensity. The guitarist has absorbed a plethora of influences and whether he picks or strums, the results are serious and almost always worth hearing. There is a chamber feel to some of the pieces, and even Lovano's drums are tastefully restrained. Drew Gress' bass plays an important role, underpinning the foundation, and providing some impressive soloing. His backing of Lovano on "Splendido" is one of the highlights of the album."  

by Bill Shoemaker

“Though the set was penned by guitarist James Emery, this is a thoroughly collective effort, exuding an organic feel corporate jazz is clueless about.

Ably anchored by bassist Drew Gress, the quartet is equally cogent on luminous ballads and Brazilian-tinged vehicles as they are on roiling outbound themes and jagged, stop-go motives.

Given Emery's use of electric and acoustic instruments, Lovano's arsenal of horns and percussion (he plays serviceable Paul Motian-like traps), and Judi Silvano's voice and flute, the quartet has a considerable palette, which is occasionally emphasized through overdubbing. Still, Fourth World has the vibe of a long hang in a loft or farmhouse, far away from the maddening industry."

American Reporter
by Dan McClenaghan

"Acoustic guitarist James Emery teams with bassist Drew Gress, vocalist Judi Silvano, and Joe (Downbeat Awards King) Lovano, who plays six or seven different reeds instruments here, as well as an array of percussion modes, on "Fourth World".

"The Fourth World, or dimension" (I quote Emery's liner notes here) "is the dimension of vibration." The vibrations on this disc interweave and sing with a transcendent grace, creating a beautiful, sometimes eerie soundscape.

James Emery has a delicate, busy approach, almost flamenco-like at times, a flexible, plastic (in the very best sense of the word) accoustic guitar sound that blends seamlessly with Lovano's multiple reed vibrations.

The music on "Fourth World" is a close kin--more than a first cousin; let's say a half sibling--to Lovano's recent trio CDs. Fluid, wandering tunes that roam around then come back home. Pure, sweet dark wood noise contrasted with the tangy metallic brass sound of the alto and the deeper-throated tenor. Then take it a step further and add Judi Silvano's wordless angel vocals, reminscent of her work on the Lovano/Gunther Schuller masterpiece, "Rush Hour", or the marvelous Lovano disc, "Celebrating Sinatra". Though the Lovano/Silvano team teased us a bit a couple of years back with a two song teaming on Judi's overlooked "Songs I Wrote or Wish I Did", it's been too long since we had a real collaboration from them. They do, indeed, make beautiful music together.

This is a sparkling diamond of a CD, an absolute must-have for fans of Lovano's trio recordings, one offering the added zest of James Emery's warm, succinct guitar string vibrations."
by Glenn Astarita

  "The title of this newly issued recording might ordinarily imply notions of poverty and human rights but in the liners, guitarist James Emery iterates that the Fourth World, "is the world, or dimension, of vibration." Therefore, we are presented with four world-class musicians, pursuing good vibes on this astutely constructed 2002 release.

Joe Lovano performs on a variety of woodwind instruments here yet on certain tracks he mans the drum kit, also evidenced on his recent lights Of Fancy outing. A minor beef is in order for the decision of not utilizing a seasoned drummer, as Lovano is prone to sound tentative amid choppy and uninteresting fills. However, his activities behind the kit do not detract from the recording when viewed upon as a whole as the musicians surreptitiously translate polytonal pastiches of sound via their often-compelling exchanges. On many of these works, the band is apt to break off into briefly actualized sub groups. Alternatively, on pieces such as "Fourth World," Judi Silvano renders whispery vocalise in unison with her associates' complexly stated themes. The quartet pronounces an airy backdrop via loosely formulated dialogue or when Lovano and acoustic guitarist, James Emery partake in blistering cat and mouse like episodes.

Emery executes razor sharp single note lines and sweeping chord progressions during "La Scala," while also counterbalancing Lovano with emphatically placed accents on their duet encounter titled, "The Next Level." Throughout this affair, bassist, Drew Gress serves as the traffic director, while Ms. Silvano picks up the flute on the Caribbean tinged closer, "Hannah's Song." Hence, the musicians bring a melange of experience to the table as they elicit notions of wide open terrain or expansive horizons, while touching upon the preternatural minutiae of the Fourth Dimension. Recommended."