Bassist Tim Ferguson’s unconventional trio Inside/Out is a collaborative group that makes its recorded debut with Hold That Thought. Sandwiched between a piece by bassist Charlie Haden and another by pianist Mal Waldron this engaging mix of free improvisations and original compositions brims with a warm intimacy and intense lyricism.
Haden’s “Silence” opens with pianist Diane Moser’ tolling keys that usher in trumpeter Rob Henke’s melancholic, long notes. Henke’s horn expands evocatively over Moser’s somber lines and the leader’s thumping bass. Eventually a mellifluous three-way conversation ensues that is full of evocative intelligence and relaxed camaraderie.
Henke switches from alto horn to trumpet after stating the effervescent theme on Waldron’s “You.” His burnished tone blows over his band mates rolling vamps fading out as Moser takes center stage with an expressive and eloquent extemporization. Ferguson’s charming and poetic solo showcases his superb virtuosity and his agile handling of the strings.
The lone Ferguson contribution, “Un Bel Lago” is a nostalgic and impressionistic piece named after the Italian/Swiss lake Lago Maggiore. His emotive con arco bass sets the mood for an introspective duet with Moser and for Henke’s intriguing and expectant monologue.
Henke weaves lilting, shimmering sonic threads around Ferguson’s thumping, pensive bass on his cinematic “A Drink and Cigarette.” Moser’s pianism cascades like an evocative harp around the melody. Moser’s own bluesy “One For Mal” features her soulful, suave soliloquy and Henke’s gritty, rousing embellishments.
The on the spot, ad-lib title track is the perfect example of their seamless esprit de corps. The musicians express their individuality in languid, pensive phrases that feed off each other and form an intensely alluring harmonic tapestry.
This conceptually cohesive record is a stimulating and elegant celebration of collective spontaneity. Ferguson and his colleagues, thanks to their superlative artistry, masterfully balance improvisational rigor with a graceful melodic sense. Hold That Thought may not break new ground but it is delightfully fresh and subtly inventive with both an intellectual and a sentimental appeal.
by HRAYR ATTARIAN Published: April 20, 2015
Chamber Jazz is not a new invention: the idea of eliminating the drums as the rhythmic base was done by Jimmy Giuffre in his famous trios, like the historic one with Paul Bley on piano and Steve Swallow on bass. Tim Ferguson, American double bassist, has also tried his hand at creating a disc with that intimate atmosphere and has succeeded in capturing some very beautiful moments, for example the duet where he bows with pianist Diane Moser during his piece Un bel lago, a quasi impressionistic piece in which as he continues playing pizzicato, trumpet player Rob Henke evokes classic Miles Davis. The disc is however extremely varied, alternating between improvised moments and others in which composition takes precedence. Silence by Charlie Haden begins the set, and certain parts of its performance are reminiscent of the latest recordings by Tomasz Stanko. Elsewhere, instead there are sounds of be-bop, for example Only a Dream in which the precise chords of the piano accompany an extremely strong pizzicato bass and muted trumpet. Henke’s A Drink and a Cigarette is also beautiful and reminiscent of Miles. There is the coolest West Coast of One for Mal and intense moments in the bass solo on If You Call Me, Then I’ll Call You, and Hold that Thought, the title cut of the disc which also features an extremely lyrical trumpet solo. Overall this disc presents an enchanting crepuscular atmosphere to listen to. In the liner notes the leader writes that he knows that the audience for this type of music is small, but hopes it will be appreciated because it is a labor of love. But how could anyone not recognize the beauty and charm of a work like this?
by Vittorio, 11-16-2015
Tim’s bass does a wonderful job of leading this excellent jazz trio (Rob Henke is on trumpet/alto horn and Diane Moser plays piano) through paces & changes your mind will enjoy grooving to! It’s an October 2014 release that will “hold” you spellbound through all nine tunes (7 original compositions)! The lively & rambunctious “Only A Dream” is a perfect example of jazz that lives (& will continue living through repeated listens)! The players come through as totally in to what they’re doing, & won’t let your ears down… listen to Diane’s “One For Mal” to get an idea of just how lively this set gets. It was Tim’s tune, “Un Bel Lago“, that got my vote for personal favorite, though… 10:04 gives the players plenty of time to explore the theme and move in directions that will provide pure listening pleasure for months and years to come. I give this release a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of a (perfect) 5.00 – meaning that it also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best trio jazz”!
by Rotcod Zzaj, Issue 151 reviews
The haunting refrains of the late Charlie Haden’s composition “Silence” begin the CD of Tim Ferguson’s Inside/Out album Hold That Thought! (Planet Arts 301417) and give us as loving a tribute to the fallen giant as any I have heard. And that is just the beginning of the captivating set in store for listeners.
Bassist Tim Ferguson’s Inside/Out is a trio with the somewhat unusual instrumentation of Tim on acoustic bass plus Rob Henke on trumpet and alto horn and Diane Moser on piano. It is no exaggeration to state that each player carves out a vital, indispensable space in the trio setting that makes this music special.
With no drummer present they are free to go into some very rubato feels or swing along according to the piece at hand. And they do. Tim can walk very nicely and very audibly given the setting, or become a third horn, so to speak. His inventiveness is key, but no less than Henke and Moser. They all are schooled in contemporary jazz and take on their experience with the vocabulary to whatever realms they choose to occupy. So there is postbop swinging, freedom and expressive balladings on originals and a few jazz standards.
Bass enthusiasts will certainly appreciate what Tim is doing. Rob and Diane have much to say too, and all manage to do it with their own take on what jazz is today.
It’s the sort of album that has a classic quality that one never grows tired of. My fifth hearing right now is as fresh sounding to me as the first. And there is just a hint of middle-period Miles in Rob that sounds very good in this sort of trio.
by Grego Applegate Edwards Jan 27th, 2015
The American bassist Tim Ferguson has been an active performer in the world of jazz for more than a decade and a half. This musician is not only a frequent guest on the stage, but also in a recording studio, for this you can thank Tim, for now you can have a great record collection.
Ferguson’s prepared his introductory album in 1999, under the Panorama label. This was followed first by “Points of View”, and then “Trilogues” and “Perspectives”. In 2006, “Get Out of Town” got in stores. Almost two years later “What’s Going On”. The performer’s latest album,”Hold That Thought!” was released on the Planet Arts label. This album was made jointly with Rob Henke (trumpet) and Diane Moser (piano). A meaningful part of the compositions found in the repertoire were written by the members of the trio. Exceptions are the opening and closing compositions. The former is Charlie Haden’s “Silence” and the latter is Mal Waldron’s composition “You.” Altogether, one an say that really wonderful musical material was successfully brought together by the American players. On this record, Ferguson’s trio accomplishes a world of sound that is light, melodic (but not too popular) instrumentals, that are spiced by the memory of jazz stylings. This production offers the magical atmosphere of rich harmonies. The comfortable melodies, like for an example “Only A Dream”, “If You Call Me, Then I’ll Call You” and the title song “Hold That Thought”, disengage the inner stress within and mean total entertainment. Those who like the new album can also bravely browse among Ferguson’s earlier recordings.
by Michael Czékus Sept, 2014
[note:This is a translation from a Hungarian text, I have added a few words here and there to smooth the translation. Many thanks to Yvonne Orr for her help in translating! My apologies to Michael Czékus if I have mistaken his intent, D.M.]
Tim Ferguson Inside/Out is a trio with a sound all its own. Ferguson plays bass and he is joined by Rob Henke on trumpet and alto horn and Diane Moser on piano for Hold That Thought!, an album released earlier this month.
The instrumentation of the trio is usual, and their sound is anything but the kind of standard fare of the conventional jazz ensemble.Of the nine pieces on the disc, two are complete improvisations, five are original compositions by members of the trio and a couple the opening number,”Silence”; by Charlie Haden, and the closer,”You”; by Mal Waldron are band favorites. It is an interesting repertoire that has the band playing delicately filigreed ballads interspersed with a bit of swing built on a blues base that wanders between the nocturnal (“A Drink and A Cigarette”) and the wickedly witty (“One For Mal”). The interaction between piano and horn is constantly inventive. The instrumental combination may take some getting used to; it’s original and it works. (This review was originally posted on blogcritics.org and then on seattlepi.com)
by: Jack Goodstein October 25, 2014
On first glance, a jazz group consisting of trumpet, piano and bass may seem a bit incomplete. However Hold That Thought! by Tim Ferguson’s Inside/Out is one of the finest jazz recordings to be released this year, and a delight throughout. Because of the three musicians’ ability to follow each other spontaneously and their skill at making up melodies as they go along, it succeeds at Ferguson’s goal of making it difficult (without reading his liner notes) to know which pieces are freely improvised and which are arranged.
Bassist Tim Ferguson has a long resume of associations with artists based in New York including the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Cecil Bridgewater, Vanessa Rubin, Valery Ponomarev and Don Friedman, in addition to the co-op trio Stevens, Siegel and Ferguson.
Trumpeter Rob Henke (who also plays alto horn) has also been in New York during the past 25 years and, while many of his associations have been with lesser known names (Mina Agossi, Rolf Sturm, the great singer Nanette Natal, Mike Kaplan, the Micro-East Collective and Doctor Nerve), he has developed his own mellow and brittle sound which at times is a little reminiscent of Chet Baker.
Diane Moser is a subtle pianist who is equally skilled as a soloist and an accompanist. She leads the Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band, has her own trio and quintet, and has worked with such artists as Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway, Howard Johnson, Oliver Lake, Tina Marsh, and Charles McPherson.
Inside/Out came together originally as a fun way for the trio to jam and try out new songs. Originally they had thoughts of expanding the group, but the sound of the unit was so appealing (as was the opportunity to utilize space) that they decided against it. In 2010 they performed a concert and then recorded this CD, playing in the studio as if they were at a live performance.
Hold That Thought! should have been released several years ago but it has not aged or become dated in the slightest. The selections are performed continuously, with one piece or idea flowing into the next.
The set begins with a beautiful version of Charlie Haden’s “Silence” (one of his best originals) which includes some heartbreaking trumpet. “Only A Dream” was freely improvised but sure does not sound like it. It swings, develops through several moods and patterns, and stays intriguing throughout. It is followed by “A Drink And A Cigarette,” a Rob Henke composition that is a jazz waltz.
The spontaneous “Trumpet Bass Segue” Is followed by Diane Moser’s “One For Mal” which brings back the style and spirit of Mal Waldron a bit.” Tim Ferguson’s “Un Bel Lago” has the composer in the forefront much of the time, whether bowing or setting the atmosphere during the moody ballad. “If You Call Me, Then I’ll Call You” sounds freely improvised but is actually a Moser freebop composition.
“Hold That Thought” is the opposite, a free improvisation that is lyrical, melodic and logical. The program concludes with “You,’ a cheerful and swinging Mal Waldron song. Hold That Thought! is both adventurous and accessible, subtle and unpredictable. Get it without hesitation.
A gregarious, communicative and warm hearted trio, Tim Ferguson Inside/Out plays a variety of music ranging from compositions by the members of the ensemble and well known jazz composers to completely improvised music. Audiences enjoy a colorful sonic journey as the group explores a variety of musical approaches, creating music in which the line between composition and improvisation blurs and gives way to spontaneous collective musical expression.
With all the outrageously righteous straight ahead, Brasiliana, and outside jazz I’ve been sent over the last year, I’d lost sight of the contemplative side of things until laying an ear to Tim Ferguson and Inside/Out’s Hold That Thought! wherein the opening cut is gorgeously Kenny Wheeleresque, trumpet / alto horn player Rob Henke as doleful as the Northern skies, as moody as a winter storm’s aftermaths. Diane Moser sets the opening perfectly in a highly restrained piano intro that continues throughout the entirety of the cut. Then Ferguson cuts in with his contrabass, limning the ground and sidewalls. The track is Charlie Haden’s Silence and it’s very aptly named.
Only a Dream, the second outing, picks up the pace, more fully displaying Moser’s pointillist explications. Her style is distinctively choppy but never wanting, perfectly attuned to what’s sometimes written and other times the completely spontaneous nature of the trio’s work but also quite idiosyncratic. I haven’t heard quite this style for a long time, forgetting how much I missed it and how rare it is. Richie Beirach could catch on it, as can Jarrett when he’s extrapolating (A Drink and a Cigarette sounds as though it might be parts left out of The Koln Concerts), but as a dominant métier? Not easy to find, and she really goes to town on One for Mal, of course dedicated to Mal Waldron.
The music isn’t as meandering as it first seems to be—though even that is a quality I’d never harsh anyone’s gig on when delivered with such integrity—but rather a form of elongated narrative with authorially punctuated side observances. With Henke and Moser continually in the foreground, Freguson is the sole rhythm section, though Diane occupies a mid-ground when Henke’s conversational lines are featured. Ferguson notes that this is not a disc for everyone, and he’s quite right, but it should be VERY palatable to those who know what the term ‘jazz’ really means—that is, beyond Kenny G, Yanni, and other lobotomy cases. In many ways, the 9-spot here is notably European, headier and richer than what’s normally encountered between Maine and California, the result of minds never settling for the easy out, the cliché, the banal.
This isn’t just jazz, it isn’t just music, it’s art, it crosses borders with the visual side of the house because there are so many large, open, airy spaces. The players wield their instruments as though a set of inks, temperas, oils, brushes, lino blocks, in order to create sketches that expand in the mind. I have only one criticism: Ferguson needs a more up-front soundfield designation, as his lines are not only akin to his icon’s, Haden, but also to Gary Peacock and require a co-equal presence, especially in this mode. Not that I’m complaining, y’unnerstan’, but such documentation would shift the dynamic even more strongly.
Bassist from New York Tim Ferguson – an accomplished musician which repeatedly toured with Don Friedman, Valery Ponomarev, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and other well-known musicians and bands. His creative activity,is many sided, not only as sideman, but also as a leader or co-founder of a number of projects. He works closely with guitarist Tom Dempsey as a duo and quartet, is involved in a trio Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson, and in addition, he teaches, writes books, and so on, Tim Ferguson Inside / Out – is one of his many projects.
In the handwritten liner notes to the album Hold That Thought! Tim reveals the history of the project itself, and this album. One day, without any specific plans, just based on their mutual interests and common views on jazz and improvised music, Ferguson, pianist Diane Moser and trumpeter Rob Henke gathered to play together. In the long term, it was assumed that perhaps this session would be the core of a future project involving a drummer and another wind instrument player. But, to the extent that, as music evolved, it became clear that to all three, that in fact, they do not need anyone, they “hear” each other perfectly, and this joint project has good prospects. Thus the group was born; Tim Ferguson Inside / Out – an unusual trio, with piano, trumpet/alto horn and double bass. In late July 2010, they played a concert in one of the halls of Clifton, New Jersey. The next day, they repeated the same program in a studio with engineer Tom Tedesco and, after some mixing and mastering, the record album “Hold That Thought!” was ready.
The album consists of pre-composed and improvised music, and Tim hopes that it will be hard for the listener to distinguish the difference. Well, if you ask me, Tim Ferguson was right, only “Trumpet Bass Segue” I was able to “identify” the improvisational duo of trumpet and bass. Perhaps someone more sophisticated, would be “luckier” in this issue. In general, the recording is framed by two cover songs. The album opens with the composition “Silence” by Charlie Haden, and ends with the composition “You”, by Mal Waldron. It is not hard to guess that the bassist Haden and pianist Waldron are among the favorites of bassist Ferguson and pianist Moser respectively. Diane also brought in her own composition “One For Mal”, devoted to the same master of jazz piano.
For the author of these lines, “One For Mal” became a favorite song on the album. Dialogue pipes and bass in the introduction, clearly blues-based composition as a whole and a great interaction between all three musicians subsequently left a very strong impression. By the way, about the interaction. Listening to “Hold That Thought!” I did not really notice the absence of a drummer. Moser and Ferguson did an excellent job with the rhythmic side of tracks at the same time being full partners while Rob Henke solos. Sometimes, as in the “Un Bel Lago”, Tim Ferguson played with a bow, giving the overall sound a special elegance. The style of the album as a whole is kind of “fuzzy”: the musicians do not focus on a particular style of jazz – it is safe to say that it is not Dixieland or avant-garde free jazz, but all the rest, from swing to bop idioms in music are there in T”im Ferguson’s Inside / Out”, making the album potentially interesting for the widest range of jazz fans.
[note:This is a translation from a Russian text, I have added a few words here and there to smooth the translation. Many thanks to Maria Moehrke for her help in translating! My apologies to Leonid Auskern if I have mistaken his intent, D.M.]