Ring Tone

Percussionist Bobby Previte’s Set the Alarm For Monday is a three-day weekend’s worth of moods and entanglements. Framed fore and aft in a nod-off theme that ticks at an after-hour’s pace, the center holds a clarion call for weekend warriors, a series of anthems and dance themes that alternately chill and redefine leisure time as hard work. Sleeping in is not an option. You can see the toll hard living takes in the cover art, black-and-white photos of the guys reading and dozing off with meaningful books: Sleep Walkers and Tender Is the Night. The septet set up is cut-loose tenor and deep-thought trumpet (Ellery Eskelin and Steve Bernstein) over a plush vibraphone pillow and assured, top-shelf, cymbal-heavy percussion. Latin rhythms dominate and the tunes vary from party-hardy to reflective. Bernstein’s muted trumpet on “She Has Information” is as seductive and mysterious as a moll in a noir mystery. Eskelin’s tenor flees down dark alleys and cries for mercy on “Were You Followed?” Other titles also hint at intrigue—“There Was Something In My Drink,” “I’m On To Her” and “You’re In Over Your Head”—and the entire program has the feel of pursuit though not necessarily aimless. Previte knows how to mix things up, developing complementary patterns and unusual sound combinations on his kit. Tom-and-cymbal unisons give the tunes a certain toughness and even as he plays simplest rhythms he imparts more punctuation than a high school English teacher. The recording’s defining touch is Bill Ware’s vibraphone: rich, resonant and ringing. Ware knows how to sound a chord and let it hang and his sonorous solo on the sleepy closer, “Wake Up Andrea, We’re Pulling In” is as considered as it gets. Not your usual work-a-day date, Set the Alarm For Monday is the kind of aural escape that, come Tuesday, will tempt you to clock in late.–Cabbage Rabbit

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