At his best, Jack DeJohnette is one of the most consistently inventive jazz percussionists extant. DeJohnette's style is wide-ranging, yet while capable of playing convincingly in any modern idiom, he always maintains a well-defined voice. DeJohnette has a remarkably fluid relationship to pulse. His timing is excellent; even as he pushes, pulls, and generally obscures the beat beyond recognition, a powerful sense of swing is ever-present. His tonal palette is huge as well; no drummer pays closer attention to the sounds that come out of his kit than DeJohnette. He possesses a comprehensive musicality rare among jazz drummers.
The group colloquially known as “the Standards trio” has made many outstanding recordings, and After The Fall must rank with the very best of them. “I was amazed to hear how well the music worked,” writes Keith Jarrett in his liner note. “For me, it’s not only a historical document, but a truly great concert.” This performance in Newark, New Jersey in November 1998 marked Jarrett’s return to the concert stage after a two year hiatus. Joined by improvising partners Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, he glides and soars through classics of the Great American Songbook including “The Masquerade Is Over”, “Autumn Leaves”, “When I Fall In Love” and “I’ll See You Again”.
On this CD, Bobby Lyle's acoustic piano is featured with strings, with several different rhythm sections, backing two throwaway vocals, unaccompanied on "It Never Entered My Mind" and "Fly Away Spirit," and even jamming during a straightahead "Blues for Dexter" with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. During practically every piece, Lyle spends part of the time seemingly attempting to overcome his surroundings. If he would drop the heavy baggage (especially the strings, the unnecessary singers and the dull drumming), Lyle could create some significant jazz. As it is, The Journey is much better than expected and fairly enjoyable.