Drummer - Percussionist - Educator - Composer

Lamb-Anderson-Sorgen. "First Mile"


  • Chuck Lamb - Piano
  • Jay Anderson - Bass
  • Harvey Sorgen - Drums

Lamb Anderson Sorgen: First Mile

Mike Jurkovic

May 6, 2021

You can discredit the human imagination for any number of horrendous things. But when used right, things like First Mile happen. Some odd quirk in the continuum comes along and you find three far-travelled veterans, namely pianist Chuck Lamb (Dry Jack, Brubeck Brothers), drummer Harvey Sorgen (Hot Tuna, Anthony Braxton, Paul Simon, {[Bill Frisell}}) and bassist Jay Anderson (Maria Schneider, Paul Bley, David Bowie, Randy Brecker) in a room in Saugerties, NY making it happen. Making it happen real good.

For a puncher like Sorgen, who never seems to tire, the whole of First Mile is a study in the finer subtleties. For Lamb, who wrote four of the seven tracks and had his rhythmic hand in the others, First Mile is the only response to the long form current urgency of the day. For Anderson, who provides the gravity between his trio mates, the music is a platform for his rooted, stoic approach.

"Pumpkin Eater," the first of Lamb's charged four, kicks off sprightly and never lets up. Lamb, a true alum of the Dave Brubeck, Teddy Wilson school of engaging all eighty-eight keys, provides the pop drive and active melodicism that sweeps the tune into the muscular romanticism of "Song For You" Sorgen holds back, keeping the swing, never losing vitality.

Dedicated to the late Frank Kimbrough with whom all three had worked, Jorma Kaukonen's iconic "Embryonic Journey" (from the Jefferson Airplane's equally iconic Surrealistic Pillow (RCA, 1967) receives a majestic, gospel arrangement and serves as the centerpiece to the entire affair. The trio's touch is one of grace and gratitude, homage and respect.

But they also want you to know they haven't totally put aside their mischievous jump-wildness, so everyone posits muscle on the post-bop burner "Covidity" and the humorously martial stepped "Street Fair." After twenty-five years on sometimes disparate, sometimes shared roads, there's an ease to First Mile that is deserved by one and all.