(119) John Ephland, Downbeat -- November, 2004

Like A Dream is bassist Darek Oles' debut as a leader and composer. It opens as if in a dream: "November" recalls Steve Swallow's Falling Grace," that sont's ascending and descending scales key components to the tune's being so memorable.

Beyond "November" we are treated to what is probably the "jazziest" part of the program, a sprited frolic throught the standard, "You Don't Know What Love Is." Played in seven, it features pianist Brad Mehldau in what amounts to a rare swinging moment, both players soloing effectively. The duet continues through the first five tracks, and the simpatico between Mehldau and Oles is palpable.

Like A Dream holds together nicely, the thematic statements tethered from one song to the next despite the chnges in personnel. And yet, to quote one of the song titles here, there are too many "precious moments;" I kept hoping for more blues, more grit, more hints of angst, something that jazz musicians can pull off even when the mood is on the dreamy side. The one exception occurs when veteran saxophonist Bennie Maupin steps up to the plate toward the end on a slowly building rocker of a tune that finds Oles' propulsive cycles supporting the tenorist as he tears the place up in the tradition of an R&B honker.

John Ephland
November, 2004