Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"A mysterious dame with gams to the ceiling walks in. Shifty characters with trench coats and perilously dangling cigarettes move among the shadows. A mickey is slipped, the double-cross completed. A tenor sax moans amid shimmering vibraphone, a spare bass line and imploring drums.
Drummer Bobby Previte's Set the Alarm for Monday may not be the soundtrack to a classic film noir, though he and The New Bump evocatively conjure those moods. No stranger to the genre, Previte's Bump the Renaissance band of the late 1980s was often described in cinematic terms and he was integral to composer John Zorn's "Spillane," an aural homage to the hardboiled fiction writer.
The opening title tune immediately establishes the ambiance. Ellery Eskelin's tenor and Bill Ware's vibraphone call and respond the same hazy melodic line, over Brad Jones' languid bass and Previte's bluesy groove. The tune smolders with virtually no improvisation. Chattering Latin drums and a brass blast from guests - percussionist Jim Pugliese and trumpeter Steven Bernstein - launch "I'd Advise You Not to Miss Your Train," the horns doubling its dramatic theme and the vibes offering counterpoint before taking the spotlight. The horns weave a sinewy line for the swanky "Were You Followed?" and exchange slinky quips, deftly punctuated by Previte and supported by Jones' stiff line on "There Was Something in My Drink." The concluding "Wake Up Andrea, We're Pulling In" reprises the title track, though loosened for improvising on the theme, hinting at where the music could go.
It was a stormy night when Previte and The New Bump previewed the music at New York's Tea Lounge (May 1, 2008). Sans Bernstein and Pugliese, there was more space within the music allowing for longer solos and several vigorous exchanges between Eskelin and Ware. Previte and Jones tested the malleability of "Drink," shifting its feel, even stretching a driving rock beat. Throughout the performance Previte masterfully directed the music: spurring and reeling it back with well-placed fills and frequently displacing grooves around the drum set, incorporating toms, rims and cowbells for percussive flair and variety.
Not a retro pursuit, Previte's thematic compositions nod to the past, but bristle with modern rhythmic and improvisatory sensibilities." -AllAboutJazz
"A seminal figure in the Downtown New York scene, drummer and composer Bobby Previte resurrected his Bump the Renaissance ensemble for the cinematic Set the Alarm for Monday. Previte's venerable acoustic group has featured a rotating roster of talent over the years, including Ray Anderson, Curtis Fowlkes, Wayne Horvitz, Lenny Picket, Steve Swallow and Tom Varner. Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone), Bill Ware (vibes) and Brad Jones (bass) form the current incarnation, with special guests Steven Bernstein (trumpet) and Jim Pugliese (percussion).
Conceived as a long form suite, the album opens gradually, working through progressions in mood episodically. Narrative song titles like "She Has Information" and "There Was Something In My Drink," suggest an evocative film-noir atmosphere that unravels like chapters from a pulp novel; each tune is another act in the continuing saga.
An aura of suspenseful mystery permeates the session, which unfolds with foreboding drama, intermittently punctuated by rousing anthems. Book-ended by enigmatic tone poems, the core of the record features simmering ostinatos and driving vamps that conjure scenes of shadowy rendezvous at secret after- hours clubs and frenzied chases down seedy back alleys. Driving these pieces, Previte unfurls a multitude of Latinized polyrhythms, with tasteful syncopated accents provided by Jim Pugliese.
Bill Ware and Brad Jones, longstanding members of the Jazz Passengers, have ample experience in this milieu. Jones' intricate winding bass lines offer a sinewy foundation for Ware's kaleidoscopic vibes, which stage effervescent tableaus for Ellery Eskelin and Steven Bernstein to explore.
A singular stylist, Eskelin's wooly timbre and taut phrases mesh soundly with Bernstein's highly expressive pre-swing aesthetic, which resounds with smears, growls and buzzing mutes. Together they trade sinuous cadences and soaring intervals, uncoiling circuitous refrains and plangent cries.
As fellow veterans of the fertile Downtown scene, the sextet delivers these stylish urban panoramas with convincing flair, effortlessly shifting from brooding atmospherics to sultry Latin grooves. Previte's most rewarding acoustic album in years, Set the Alarm for Monday effectively captures the mythic soul of Gotham after dark." -AllAboutJazz
JazzTimes (p.110) - "'I'd Advise You Not to Miss Your Train' is one duel in the sun after another: silver-tone trumpet blares atop faded yellow sax lines, bouncing bongos versus kinetic drum rolls."
Personnel: Bobby Previte (drums); Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone); Steven Bernstein (trumpet); Bill Ware (vibraphone); Brad Jones (upright bass); Jim Pugliese (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Matt Balitsaris; Bobby Previte.
Recording information: Maggie's Farm, Buck's County, PA (08/2007).
Photographer: Michael Didonna.
Arranger: Bobby Previte.
Bobby Previte has always been an unusual musician. While his drumming is versatile, swinging in its own way, and adaptable to a wide variety of musical settings, his writing is always inventive and somewhat quirky. On Set the Alarm for Monday, he contributed all nine selections for a sextet of adventurous improvisers. Previte conceived the nine pieces as a suite and he sought out players who would fit the sound he had in mind. His group, which he calls the New Bump, has tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin as the most impressive soloist, and vibraphonist Bill Ware as a very significant player in the ensembles. Much of the music sounds a bit like a soundtrack, with a simple rhythmic figure sometimes serving as the basis for the piece and the playing ending inconclusively. The music does not feel quite finished, nor as memorable as one might expect, with the individual playing and the ensemble colors being more notable than the compositions. Still, Set the Alarm for Monday grows in interest with each listen. ~ Scott Yanow