Reviews of CORNERS
Reviews of WATER LOGIC


Marsall Vente of Jazz Institute of Chicago

This CD, like their previous "Water Logic," is a stand out recording of a wonderful quartet. Everything comes together here, solid modern playing, original thoughts and flawless performance.

This quartet also presents something that jazz has lost, they are a long-standing working group. Music of this dimension can only occur when the musicians share the same mind set and play together often.

In addition to saxophonist Brian Gephart, pianist Bob Long, bassist Ken Haebich and drummer Ernie Adams, the quartet is expanded on some tracks with vocalist Grazyna Auguscik, the strings Diane Delin, Scott Dowd and Sara Wollan. Drummers Mark Ott and Tim Davis also appear on some tracks.

The program is adventurous and original, 12 new tunes and a new cover on "Eleanor Rigby." The recording and mix are clear as a bell, another fine job from Steve Yates. Check these guys at their club dates and call them to get a copy of this CD!

Jon Janowiak of

Unlike many jazzers, Brian Gephart and Bob Long are not afraid to reveal an unspeakable truth: They grew up in a world touched by the Beatles. It's self-evident -- they actually cover "Eleanor Rigby" -- and it's not the only latter-20th century influence apparent on this disc. The well-disciplined howls of Gephart, for instance, carry the unmistakable stamp of jazz-rock-fusion sax pioneer Michael Brecker, and the inviting aesthetic of the original songs at times suggest the pop-jazz sensibility of Pat Metheny.

The influences of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter are plainly heard, too, in the care each musician has taken to learn from the jazz masters. Although "Corners" tends to be inviting, relaxed and easy on the ears, its musicianship would make even a jazz purist proud.

Gephart and pianist Bob Long sound like they have worked together for years. They have. This is their fourth recording in 10 years, and they've gigged for ages in such spots as Pops for Champagne. They possess that classic working-band sound: guys who are accustomed to playing set after set, drumming up a musical dialogue that is as entertaining to each other as to the people drinking it in. "Corners" is a studio recording, but listen to the way Long cackles at the end of the aptly titled "Killer Clowns" and the joy of creative interaction shines through.

"Killer Clowns," incidentally, is both a highlight and low point of the disc. Its repetitive funky motif is immediately gripping, though after nearly 6 minutes, it wears a bit thin. "Eleanor Rigby," meanwhile, manages to sustain interest even though it clocks in at nearly 11 minutes. Part of its longevity, I think, comes from the way they sneak into the melody after an extended vamp that scarcely hints at what song it is. The tasteful addition of strings (real ones, not a cheesy synth!) helps too -- of course, you've got to have strings if you're going to do "Eleanor Rigby." Another longevity factor is the way the rhythm section ebbs and flows, gradually building intensity.

And what a rhythm section this is. Gephart and Long were lucky enough to recruit drummer Ernie Adams for most of this recording, and his contribution proves valuable from the get-go as he artfully punctuates Long's piano solo on the opener, "Canvas." Bassist Ken Haebich lays down a solid bottom end and plays a bluesy solo on "Mr. D."

Vocalist Grazyna Auguscik appears on two mellow back-to-back compositions by Long, "La Nuit (for Cyd)" and the title track, "Corners." It's her clear, airy presentations of these richly melodic pieces that remind me of Metheny, for some intangible reason. And one spot -- where Gephart softly doubles her melody to the accompaniment of piano and a maraca or maybe just a shaker-egg -- stakes a claim as the album's most sublime passage.



Paul B. Matthews of Cadence Magazine

Gephart and Long are Chicago based and their music has that distinctive Chicago sound, but not the form of traditional Jazz that many think of as Chicago style. Gephart and Long's music is in that later style that, for me at least, is equally distinctive to the Windy City. It's a solid, muscular, self-assured sound that's energetic, but not to the point of being "in your face." Gephart likes to stretch out and blow lines; Long, to churn and propel the music with his chordal combinations.

All the selections here are originals, most by Gephart with one each from Long, guitarist Johnson and bassist Haebich. On even the more harmonically complex ones, the emphasis is on the melody. The players are as unabashedly tender in their treatment of a ballad as they are unpretentiously extroverted in their blowing. As one would expect from a Chicago Jazz sound, you can hear traces of the blues in almost all their offerings. But there is also a tune with an Eastern European folk music theme, "If Not Now, When?" that is equally reflective of Chicago's musical heritage.

Imagery aside, this is one of those albums where sixty minutes of music goes by fast. Perhaps that's because Gephart and Long have served up the Jazz equivalent of a Chicago steak with all the trimmings. Their music has plenty of meat, is served with lots of sizzle and, as a listener, made me want to pull up a chair and dig right in.

Neil Tesser of the Chicago Reader
Critic's Choice
November 15, 1996

As a rule, I tend to shy away from groups like this - or rather, from the groups with which people might easily confuse the Gephart Long Quartet. At first glimpse, this quartet seems to comfortably sail the seas of "contemporary" jazz, as saxophonist Brian Gephart's throaty tenor and pliant soprano pilot the band around that idiom's easy edges. Indeed, a few of the tracks on the new CD (Water Logic, issued by the band itself) would probably float with the WNUA audience. But even these songs hold interest for those of us who like our music in the foreground; and the rest of the album - which includes blues and bebop - reveals the long, strong roots of each player.

Like so many modern saxophonists, Gephart has adopted the bright hard sound of Michael Brecker, and he can play with all the glibness of better-known colleagues. But Gephart often digs beneath that veneer, a tendency that can be ascribed to the band as a whole. Bob Long has developed into a tastefully aggressive accompanist and a fluent soloist in his 15 years on the Chicago scene, and bassist Ken Haebich and drummer Mark Ott provide a versatile, flexible rhythmic base that can handle music drawn from both the classic mainstream and postbop currents.

This quartet won't set the world on fire; but with its solid original repertoire and a clearly audible rapport developed over the last five years, it can offer an evening of earnest and quite respectable mid-90s jazz...

Lloyd Sachs of the Chicago Sun-Times
August 28, 1997

... This year's Jazz Club Tour was the most sweeping, geographically, extending to the Velvet Lounge on the Near South Side, Joe's Bebop Cafe on the Lake, the Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village and the Green Mill Uptown. While the musical styles on display didn't range quite as far as they have in some years, the club-surfing still was rich in diversity.

In addition to introducing new artists to casual jazz fans, the tour introduced new or newly relocated clubs. Chief among them was the Bop Shop, which only a few weeks ago moved to the Cleopatra Show Lounge at 1146 S. Wabash. Let's not mince words: The barroom space is pretty seedy and cramped. But as demonstrated by the Brian Gephart Bob Long Quartet, good music has a way of overcoming ambiance - even peach-tinted lighting.

Among the city's young tenorists, Gephart has developed one of the more personal sounds. A bluntly assertive soloist, he builds on the styles of Joe Henderson and Sonny Rollins in staying close to the ground, harmonically, and Von Freeman in his everpresent threat to torch mainstream convention. Long is a solid hard bop stylist and the band features first-rate originals..."

Lloyd Sachs of the Chicago Sun-Times
Arts & Show
December 24, 1996

Tune in to year's best Chicago jazz

Announcing the top 10 jazz albums of 1996 by Chicago artists:

Gephart Long Quartet, "Water Logic". An album of hard-bopping delights and flowing meditations by a band that deserves to go places - and have a label pick up this independently recorded CD. Gephart, a tenor saxist with an enjoyably full sound, and Long, a pianist known for his work with Henry Johnson, are joined by that guitarist, who has rarely played on record with a harder edge.

Josh Noel of the Daily Southtown
December 6, 1996

This local jazz group (two members live in Evanston, one in Oak Park and one in Chicago) offers something for all jazz fans.

For the purists who prefer a moody Miles Davis-like sound, there is "Weather or Not."

For those fond of sultry Latin-tinged jazz, there's the seven and a half minute (and very beautiful) "Song for Bala."

For the fan who favors festive party music, the lead track, "Marbles," should do.

And for the morose, the closing track, "If Not Now, When?" could have come from "Fiddler on the Roof."

For these reasons, "Water Logic," an album financed by the group without the benefit of a record label, succeeds on several levels.

Gephart, who plays tenor and soprano saxophones (and wrote all but three of the album's 10 songs), shares the spotlight with pianist Long (who wrote one). Both are flawless and helped along by Ken Haebich's bass (Haebich wrote one song) and Mark Ott's drumming.

An hour of solid jazz awaits.



A Chicago based jazz quartet featuring original and classic jazz compositions.

Brian Gephart ... tenor and soprano saxophones
Bob Long ............................ piano
Ken Haebich ................bass
Ernie Adams ..... drums

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Midnight Gardeners Play Corners Water Logic There Are Ways
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Also available on cassette tape
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Last updated:
May 4, 2011


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