When Steven Lugerner released the These Are The Words/Narratives double album back in 2011, it struck the very center of the bull’s eye. If you heard it, you couldn’t help but notice how the double-reedist held such a tight, commanding grip on his chamber jazz ensembles and the sounds they produced. But for For We Have Heard, it feels like Lugerner has struck the red again, but this the listener’s back (ear?) happened to be turned away. In other words, it’s not an out-of-gate stunner.
Further exploiting the long-standing relationship that jazz and Judaism have, For We Have Heard is a 32-minute adaptation of the book of Joshua, urging those Israelites to “Be Strong and Resolute” as they travel “Up From the Land”. Darren Johnston supplies the trumpet, Myra Melford helms piano, Matt Wilson makes light of his skinwork, and the bass is played by no one. But For We Have Heard doesn’t necessarily need one—it just needs patience.