lunes, 19 de enero de 2015

Sketches - Volume Two (2014)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Label: Brooklyn Jazz Underground
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆     

Same musicians, same winning concept, great new songs: that's what awaits on the second volume of music from the quintet collective known as Sketches.

This Brooklyn-based outfit works a unique angle with its own brand of cross-pollinated composition, whereby one musician brings in a tidbit of music that serves as the seed for a piece from the pen of another band member. It's a form of collaborative writing that allows both parties to work alone together.

To some, the band and its concept may smack of gimmickry, but those thoughts belong with the pure cynics, not the open ears. The music speaks for itself, and boy, does it ever speak. The album opens on a brilliant odd-metered construct ushered in with hypnotic piano, carried further along with strong grooves and individual statements ("Caught In The Storm"). From that point on, it's simply a world open to possibility. Slow-and-deep backbeat-driven winners burrow into the mind ("Bibi"); relatively mellow scenarios with swing-ish underpinnings surface ("Sirenia"); dark avenues—places fraught with uncertainty, populated and driven by angst and rebellion—are explored to the fullest ("Rub"); curious music with a tribal bent takes hold ("Dyson Ritual"); and a hopeful goodbye sends everybody on their way ("Calm After The Storm").

While the compositions and the concept driving them deserve a good deal of praise and attention, it's ultimately the personalities at play that bring the music to life. Pianist Jarrett Cherner's diverse talents are on full display as he alternately engages in rhythmic tiling, mixes it up with his band mates, and solos on top of things; trumpeter Matt Holman and saxophonist Jeremy Udden brilliantly balance moods, working plaintive, lyrical, and frantic strains into the music; drummer Ziv Ravitz is equal parts beat-keeper and colorist; and bassist Martin Nevins' wide beat, thick sound, and soulful baring bring heart to this music.

In an era where one-off projects, here-and-gone groups, and ad hoc assemblages seem all-too-common, it's nice to see a band built around a unique idea that's willing to go for the long haul and develop over time. So far, it's paying off big time for Sketches. - Dan Bilawsky -

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Tim Langedijk Trio - Açenja (2014)

Source: Tim Langedijk
Label: The Sand Records 
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆      

The Tim Langedijk Trio may be the master manipulators of the own lyrical road less traveled. 
Never one to allow the self imposed limitations of genre hold his artistic voice in check, Tim Langedijk may be one of the two or perhaps three best guitarists that have crossed my desk this year. Acenja is a stunning and almost ambient exploration moving from a bold color palette to more open ended soundscapes while never losing touch or mangling the compositional melody within each composition. Delightfully subtle with a meticulously nuanced harmonic approach.
Bassist Udo Pannekeet is a member of the first hour. In 2011 drummer Hans van Oosterhout joined the trio. The first two albums (Testimonials, 2008 and Inside The House, 2010) were critically acclaimed. “His view of music is in line with what John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell set in motion,” said the magazine Jazzism. Contemporary jazz that branches out into fusion and country, it’s all possible with Langedijk, yet always with a lovely tone and refined movements.
The above quote was creatively acquired from the web site and done so in an attempt to give one the finest artistic base from which to evaluate and even compare the music of Acenja.
“Benny’s Bubble” may be the signature tune that focuses on this small collective that functions with a lyrical sense of purpose that is more closely associated with a larger ensemble. A deconstructed swing with a syncopated pop. Clean and precise lines camouflage a harmonic approach that is uniquely Langedijk. “After Midnight” a tune with a smoldering cinematic quality that would work exceeding well on the large or small screen. An exquisite composition by most all reasonable accounts. “We’re Getting Close” another odd metered yet open ended exploratory where the voicing comes full circle and the norm would be to expect the unexpected. One of the years best!
Brent Black (Critical Jazz) ★★★★★

01 The Woods
02 Benny's Bubble
03 Religion
04 Blue Birdy
05 After Midnight
06 Dedication
07 More
08 Sam's Dollhouse
09 Açenja
10 We're Getting Close

Tim Langedijk, guitar
Udo Pannekeet, bass
Hans van Oosterhout, drums

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Sipiagin-McCaslin-Kikoski-Kozlov-Edwards-Lizik - Machaut Man and a Superman Hat (2014)

Label: Rattle Records
Gab's Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆     

Recorded with some of New York's greatest jazz musicians, Dave Lisik's Machaut Man and a Superman Hat is contemporary jazz at its most assured. This masterful album is exceptional on every level, a strong, fully focused statement from one of Rattle's finest contemporary artists. 

'Machaut Man and a Superman Hat was an amazingly enjoyable project to put together knowing that this band was going to tear through these tunes. Being at the recording was an opportunity to see these players in their element, especially at Systems Two, a studio that feels like a second home.
The compositions on this album were collected over several years, a few older originals and others written recently specifically for this recording. As a composer, you appreciate it when professional musicians are willing to spend time working on something you’ve written; you know that they’ve dedicated years to be able to play well, but the five guys on this recording play jazz at the highest level, and their collective playing is gorgeous.'  - Dave Lisik -

1. Steal Bryan's Laptop 09:52
2. Machaut Man and a Superman Hat 06:50
3. Au Chien Qui Fume 07:27
4. (You Can't Always Get a) Wet Chihuahua 09:42
5. Hooptie on the 405 08:21
6. Georgia On My Mind 11:59
7. The Disgruntled Plagiarist 07:05
8. Katafuzees (Giant Steps) 07:14
Alex Sipiagin (trumpet and flugelhorn)
Donny McCaslin (tenor and soprano saxophones)
Dave Kikoski (acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes)
Boris Kozlov (bass)
Donald Edwards (drums)

"Master your instrument, master the music 
& then forget all that & just play."
 - Charlie Parker -


Kenny Garrett / John Scofield / Michael Brecker / David Friesen - No Parking Tow Away Zone (2014)

This West Wind album, recorded at various studio sites in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Berkeley, CA, and New York City between 1987 and 1994, has Kenny Garrett as the leader, but a closer reveal might more accurately hand that title to David Friesen. The bassist is on five of the nine tracks, in duet performances with John Scofield, Michael Brecker, or Denny Zeitlin, while Garrett does lead the other four selections in larger ensemble contexts. Extraordinary musicianship is present throughout, making for an interesting musical experience, and with great appeal for fans who enjoy any of these talented musicians.

Longtime friends Scofield and Friesen reunite for a somber take of "Old Folks" and a brighter "True Blue," Brecker's tenor sax joins the bassist for a great, spirited version of the Sonny Rollins classic "Airegin" and the heavy duty, hip neo-bop original "Signs & Wonders," with the two occasionally merging in tandem phrases. A final track for bass and piano with the brilliant Zeitlin allows them to interpret the great Wayne Shorter composition "Speak No Evil" over nine minutes with a symmetry and balance unparalleled in most duet recordings, especially over long lengths of time via the wonderfully inventive acoustic keyboardist. Garrett leads a sextet with less dominant trombonist Julian Priester, a pronounced Bill Frisell and sublimated Robben Ford on electric guitars. They do the sly Duke Ellington evergreen "Wanderlust" proud under a deep bassline by Anthony Cox, while the outstanding track of the album "The Oyster Dance" slips from 7/8 time to fractured beats at will in a funky yet scattered method quite reminiscent of Thelonious Monk.

Another quintet with Steve Nelson and Mulgrew Miller offers up a different sonic challenge, as they do pianist Miller's "Wingspan" in hard bop fashion with Garrett's alto alongside Nelson's vibraphone in fully charged bright moments, while "Sonhos Do Brasil" offers a contrasting, sleek, and softer bossa nova style, with percussionist Rudy Bird as special guest. The listening skills of the larger ensembles is quite evident, while Garrett -- at this time a 27-year-old phenom -- is still learning his craft but growing very quickly in the company of these well-chosen super-pro partners. Drummers Jerry Granelli and Tony Reedus are especially notable for rhythmically moving things along quite nicely for Garrett and friends.

This material deserves high marks simply for the great musicians participating, and though uneven, retains full intrigue in one-of-a-kind session status, any of which could have been full-blown concepts -- one of which (sigh) might have been a Garrett-Brecker project that is not here.

1. Old Folks
2. Wanderlust
3. True Blue
4. Airegin
5. Signs and Wonders
6. Speak No Evil
7. Wingspan
8. The Oyster Dance
9. Sonhos do Brasil

"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins