Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz ’

Michael Sarian and The Chabones – The Escape Suite

“I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.” One of the all-time great movie lines, uttered by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost. It was a testament to Indiana Jones’ tendency to improvise to meet an objective when the original plan and backup plan have failed. It’s also a sign of a jazz musician doing what jazz musicians do – taking what is known and exploring the unknown. Michael Sarian and The Chabones capture this concept with The Escape Suite (2015).

Sarian plays trumpet. The other band members are Jim Piela, alto and soprano sax; Ricky Alexander, tenor sax; David Banker, trombone on “Brett Atlas”; Christopher Misch-Bloxdorf, trombone; Michael Verselli, Rhodes and Minimoog; Trevor Brown, electric bass; and Josh Bailey, drums.

“Brett Atlas” begins with a bit of spacey underscore behind soft trumpet. When the melody starts, Sarian leads with Alexander answering his calls. The intensity picks up swiftly, only to shut down after the main theme. That haunting, spacey sound returns as the tenor delivers a mellow, groovy solo. Tom rolls accent a few changes of direction. Then, the music swells as the other instruments return, setting up for a dramatic conclusion.

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Bastian Weinhold – Cityscape

He’s there, but his bandmates enjoy most of the spotlight. That’s the approach taken by German drummer Bastian Weinhold for Cityscape (Frame Music, 2015).

Accompanying Weinhold are his brother, Nils Weinhold, guitar; Adam Larson, saxophone; and Raviv Markovitz, bass.

The title song is a bright, moderate piece. Guitar and tenor blend on the introduction and melody. Then, Larson steps out. The drums do more than keep time, holding the rhythm while mixing the lines. Bass and guitar enjoy plenty of variance as well. After a moment, Larson steps aside, and Nils Weinhold comes forward. As the guitar expresses, bass and drums seemingly go their separate ways, while still remaining part of the unit.

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Adam Larson – Selective Amnesia

Amnesia is the loss of memory. Selective amnesia, in common conversation, is the perceived intentional refusal to remember certain things – to block things or simply not acknowledge the memory of them. For his album, Selective Amnesia (Inner Circle Music, 2015), saxophonist Adam Larson documents his musical growth over the past three years.

“For me, the process of accepting the things I can and cannot control has been an ongoing journey,” he says. “The music on this album largely serves as my way of musically coping and reflecting during periods in which I felt most tested by my own ego and self-imposed drama.”

On this date, Larson is accompanied by Matthew Stevens, guitar; Fabian Almazon, piano and Rhodes; Matt Penman, bass; and Jimmy Macbride, drums

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Michael Cain – Sola

Michael Cain challenges audiences to presume to know what style he’s going to play. Having a career that has led him to perform with an array of diverse artists gives him an expansive chest of material to pursue. And so he does with Sola (2015), his 10th album as a leader.

Cain plays keyboards and handles programming. He’s accompanied by two ensembles. The Vegas band, which appears on six tracks, consists of Renaldo Elliot, drums; Abo Gumroyan, bass; Mike Gonzale, trumpet; Julian Tanaka, clarinet; and Eddie Rich, saxophone. The New York band, two tracks, is a trio with Cain on piano and keys; Billy Hart, drums; and James Genus, bass.

The opening track, “Orun,” is a brief soundscape. Elliot starts things off with a workout on the kit. About a minute into it, the other musicians come in. The horns and bass provide a steady backdrop, while Cain improvises. The title is from the Yoruba word for “sun.” Cain calls it a welcoming song, asking for blessing and giving thanks.

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Noah Preminger – Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar

In a time when many artists are releasing cookie-cutter music, albums wherein each song clocks in at a radio-friendly four minutes, it’s refreshing when a musician steps outside the box. Saxophonist Noah Preminger does that in a big way with Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar (2015). The album has just two songs, each more than 30 minutes long.

Preminger plays tenor. He’s accompanied by Jason Palmer, trumpet; Kim Cass, bass; and Ian Froman, drums.

The songs were recorded “in the heat of the moment” at a Greenwich Village nightspot. Preminger explores his age-old obsession with Mississippi Delta blues. Both songs are culled from one of Preminger’s favorite sings, the late Booker T. “Bukka” White.

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Romain Collin – Press Enter

You’re at your keyboard. You’ve composed a cover letter, updated your resume or finished that manuscript you’ve been working on for years. Now what? Press enter. Those two words, uttered by legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter proved the inspiration for pianist Romain Collin’s third release as a leader. Press Enter (ACT Music, 2015) is Shorter’s advice taken to heart.

Collin met shorter and Herbie Hancock while touring India and Vietnam with a band from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Musing on people who spend their lives planning and dreaming without taking action, Shorter uttered those two words: press enter.

Accompanying Collin are bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott. Guests who appear on selected tracks are Mino Cinelu, percussion; Megan Rose, vocals; Jean-Michel Pilc, whistles; Grey McMurray, guitar; and Laura Metcalf, cello.

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Rotem Sivan Trio – A New Dance

It’s different. Unique. Terms that can apply to any new music that’s engaging but have greater emphasis here. The Rotem Sivan Trio blends jazz, classical, Mediterranean and folk music in A New Dance (Fresh Sound New Talent Records, 2015).

With Sivan are bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Colin Stranahan.

The title song opens the set. Good luck figuring its rhythm. At times, it sounds like an up-tempo waltz. At times, it’s a more conventional 4/4. Then there’s the abstract, the free form. Whichever the case, Sivan goes for it, playing seemingly unrelated phrases in a way that makes it all work cohesively. You might swear there are more than three instruments, as during some sequences, the chords sound like they’re played by a Fender Rhodes electric piano. It’s an interesting piece that gives the listener an idea of what to expect going forward.

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