(2011, FMR Records)
If everyone had as full an existence as that of Bob Gluck—pianist, composer, author, activist, educator, and rabbi—there’d be no time for war. Serenity would arrest the souls of men, and the focus would shift to making things that work in our lives. Ah, well. But Something Quiet does work as something as quiet as it is evocative, as delicate as it is complex. Gluck’s approach to composing here (all but one piece are originals) is daring. “October Song” has an energy that he, soprano saxophonist Joe Giardullo, and bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan instinctively play into, instead of enslaving to and letting dissipate. “Going Away” has a casualness about it that pulls your ear away from its tonal angularity, while Giardullo and Sullivan’s contrapuntal lines are connective and complimentary. Maybe it is Gluck’s calling into different vocations (designing electronic musical systems for live performances and installations is yet another) that inform his adventurous execution in composing and at the keyboard, as in “Still Waters.” The trio gives Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance” a slightly more subdued but no less spirited rendering of the original. (Gluck’s forthcoming book, You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band [University of Chicago Press], is about that group’s early ‘70s heyday.)
Gluck’s life is full but not done. The Albany resident performs internationally as well as at home, and continues to embrace a collaborative spirit with nonmusicians that surely nets an eclectic fanbase, one that will listen out for Something Quiet. www.electricsongs.com.