By: Edward Blanco

When accomplished composer/drummer and educator Kevin Crabb isn’t behind the drum set producing music, he can most probably be found teaching snare drum technique from his LA studio. Crabb has performed with some of the finest jazz artists in the world from Los Angeles to Toronto, from New York to Paris. An internationally-recognized drummer, Crabb has appeared on the cover of Drums, Etc. and was featured in the June 2011 issue of Modern Drummer. On Waltz For Dylan, Crabb features the debut of nine original compositions highlighting his more than appreciable chops on the instrument and his talents as a composer.

Superbly executing the terrific music found on this album is a remarkable quartet that includes Grammy-nominated pianist John Beasly and a two renowned Canadian musicians, saxophonist Kelly Jefferson and legendary bassist and vibraphonist Don Thompson—all together making for one tight ensemble. The beautiful balladic “Ecology” begins the set with Jefferson’s tenor voice leading the melody to splashing cymbal accents from the drummer. Crabb eventually takes a couple of solos as Beasley also weighs in with some dicey work on the keys.

Jefferson and Beasley combine for more fireworks on the pulsating “It Could Happen,” a brief but lively burner. From something brief to the lengthy (eleven-minutes plus) and airy “Flight,” the music turns soft and cushy with the drummer on the brushes as bassist Thompson turns on the charm with a long light solo moment. The mellow-swinging “River Sticks” and the spicy, slightly Latin-tinged “Nightscape” provide two of the better highlights of the disc.

Ending with the moving title track, Thompson plays off the saxophonist as Beasley and the leader provide the glue that holds the rhythm portion together. Waltz For Dylan delivers a winning musical statement for Kevin Crabb. It combines great musicianship with great music wrapped up in an enjoyable and challenging session of modern jazz.

Year: 2011 Label: Self-Produced Artist Web: