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Eric Person and Meta-Four
Extra Pressure

By Steven Fullwood

Contemporary jazz is best served up with a healthy slice of tradition. Eric Person and his supreme quartet, Meta-Four, knows this and has conjured up a jazz album welcome as a summer breeze on a hot summer night. Person is a kick-ass saxophonist with finesse, one that can handle straight-ahead mid-tempo joints as well as softer, more malleable ballads. Rounding out the rest of the foursome is John Esposito (piano), Carlos Henderson (bass) and E. J. Strickland (drums). Extra Pressure is the name of their first album as a unit, and it's rather amazing considering how tight they sound.

Extra Pressure

The band gets things started right away with the piano-anchored "The Pull." Henderson is a generous player who allows each musician to show off his distinctive prowess. Like the best bebop, you can feel the song dip and dive into crevices and turn corners with ease. Henderson's stunning bass intro to "This Devotion" is also excellent, cleverly offset by Esposito's limber piano playing. Person jerks the tune back and forth, playing in between the steady beat (thanks to Strickland), and eventually works the song out alongside Henderson's insistent bass. "Perfection," another gem, showcases the band's fluidity and charm. The cascading piano riffs in "Perfection" are so lovely that they make you want to cry.


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Extra Pressure is a solid offering from a quartet that deserves an audience. There's not a tune on the album that doesn't fail to delight. But don't take it from me. Check it out for yourself.

December 2001


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