Jesse Lewis and Ike Sturm
As a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ike Sturm is well known in Rochester jazz circles as a superb bassist. Since moving to New York, he's played with Wynton Marsalis, Donny McCaslin, Bobby McFerrin, and many others. But on his latest release, "Endless Field," a collaboration with guitarist Jesse Lewis (who has worked with Dave Douglas, Anat Cohen, and others), Strum ventures into an adventurous new territory. The music is inspired by nature, and much of it was composed spontaneously by these two master players in a Catskill Mountain forest.
The result is simply gorgeous. The sound of the two musicians' fingers sliding on the fret boards of the guitar and five-string bass is somehow transformed into flowing brooks and wind-stirred leaves. On some cuts, Sturm and Lewis enlist the help of friends like McCaslin, keyboardist Fabian Almazan, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, flugelhornist Nadje Noordhuis, vibraphonist Chris Dingman, percussionist Rich Stein, and vocalist Misty Ann Sturm. Even the packaging (intricately folded paper with a download code) is beautiful. From start to finish, "Endless Field" is an evocative and wondrous musical journey.