Peter Bernstein review: four masters show how it’s done

Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 08:30


Signs Live

Peter Bernstein

Smoike Sessions


Guitarist Peter Bernstein jokes in his announcements on this live session that the launch party for Signs Live was a long time coming. In December 1994, four then lesser-known twentysomething jazz musicians assembled in New York to record Signs of Life, Bernstein’s second album for the Criss Cross label. Since then, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Gregory Hutchinson, and particularly pianist Brad Mehldau, have established themselves among the leading voices of their generation (in Mehldau’s case, arguably the definitive voice), but as a quartet, they never got around to performing live.

This engrossing double-CD puts right the omission, with four masters of the American mainstream listening, responding, reaching out, showing how just how far each has travelled in the intervening years.