"Song for Pickles" Larry Gelb (IAM)
by Zane Stewart, Star-Ledger
June 2008

Englewood-based pianist and composer Larry Gelb has concocted a deeply personal album entirely of originals, some with lyrics. Many of these songs offer a view of the life he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, their daughter Jesse, and the Jack Russell terrier of the title. Bringing this often-engaging material vividly to life is a first-class ensemble: the extraordinary Dick Oatts on saxes and flute, big-toned bassist Cameron Brown, highly musical drummer Matt Wilson, versatile singer Amy Justman, and Gelb. "I'm Not Supposed to Fall in Love" is a poignant ballad with direct, plaintive Oatts tenor sax. "Jesse," with words tenderly via Justman, is another that reaches way inside. "On the Hudson," a story about living near the river, is a medium groover, and boasts one more rippling Oatts tenor effort. "Pickles" is a perky extended blues variant; Gelb's solo flows, also bounces. Intimate sounds.

-- Zan Stewart