Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Will Vinson - Perfectly Out Of Place (2016)

Source: Allaboutjazz
Genre: Modern Creative Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Perfectly Out Of Place—the sixth album from saxophonist Will Vinson—is a marvel of compositional design, textural beauty, and musicality. It's both in keeping with his previous work and several steps beyond and above.

While Vinson is essentially sticking with his favored quintet format on this one, he's expanded his sonic palette by adding some judicious overdubs and bringing in a number of special guests—The Mivos Quartet, vocalist Jo Lawry, and percussionist Jamey Haddad. He's also upped his already-impressive game on the writing end, broadening and elongating the picture(s) with material that's a bit more through-composed than what he's delivered in the past. It all adds up to one fascinating listen.

While there are many and varied aspects of this music to admire, complete and purposeful artistic unification may be chief among them. Vinson's primary collaborators—pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Jeff Ballard—all have the potential to be scene-stealers, and they do contribute plenty of memorable statements and ideas. But they never showboat here. The fact that they work in deference to the music is a credit to them and a sign of the respect they have for the material and its composer. They manage to band together without issue, asserting themselves while also keeping focus on the task(s) at hand. In short, they're perfectly in their respective places.

The entryway into this world—the album-opening "Desolation Tango"—is paved with a mixture of allure and isolation. The Mivos Quartet delivers a captivating prelude, Penman's simple rise-and-fall bass line serves as mooring and bonding agent, and the collective whole delivers an intoxicating perfume that floats and coalesces in intriguing fashion. Vinson manages to brilliantly mix the solid and vaporous. This is music that's shapely and amorphous all at once.

That opener helps to establish and identify the sound for this project, but it says little about the album's direction. Vinson goes where he pleases with each piece, and he never goes to the same place twice. "Upside" is an energetic and playful winner that opens on a Ballard solo and features some of Vinson's most uplifting work; "Willoughby General" delivers chilled-out charm and contains a soulfully pointed statement from Penman; "Limp Of Faith" is a patient and weighty meditation for piano and saxophone; and "Stiltskin (Some Drunk Funk)" works a hip and lopsided groove angle that establishes its own twenty-first century aesthetic while also winking toward the Brecker Brothers in parenthetical and (somewhat) audible fashion.

Each of those works manages to impress, but "Skyrider" outdoes them all. It's a sublime statement that capitalizes on the talents of everybody on the roster. Wondrously winding lines are delivered by artfully blended voices, moving pieces interlock and reconfigure themselves in astounding ways, solo heroics have a hand-in-glove fit with the surrounding architecture, and all parties have a stake in the success of the music. Words simply can't capture the majesty, vibrancy, and power of this piece.

Complexity and sophistication often manage to scare people away when it comes to music, but Will Vinson has managed to package both into a completely accessible and enjoyable album. Perfectly Out Of Place is quite an achievement by any and every measure. Dan Bilawsky

Desolation Tango
Willoughby General
Intro To Limp Of Faith
Stiltskin (Some Drunk Funk)
Chalk It Up
The Clock Killer
Perfectly Out Of Place

Will Vinson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, synthesizers, celesta
Mike Moreno: guitar
Gonzalo Rubalcaba: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizers
Matt Penman: bass
Jeff Ballard: drums
Jo Lawry: vocals
Jamey Haddad: percussion (4)
The Mivos Quartet:
Olivia De Prato: violin
Joshua Modney: violin
Victor Lowrie: viola
Mariel Roberts: cello






Corey Kendrick Trio - Rootless (2016) KARI-ON PRODUCTIONS

Dominick Farinacci - Short Stories (2016) MACK AVENUE RECORDS


When Quincy Jones first saw Dominick Farinacci perform, he famously said: “This kid is 360 degrees!” Every aspect of his talent has received its due praise—from his succinct, melodic phrasing, to his highly expressive tone and strong chops. Though best known for (and most interested in) beautiful, patient melodies at times reminiscent of late ‘50s - early ‘60s Miles Davis, Farinacci also knows how to swing fast, rip through the blues, or branch out with aspects of Latin percussion. This young trumpet star now releases his tenth album, Short Stories, his debut record with the famed Mack Avenue label, produced by four-time Grammy Award-winning legend Tommy LiPuma. Join us for the official album release party!

01. Bamboleo
02. Señor Blues
03. Soldier's Things
04. Doha Blues
05. Sunshine of Your Love
06. Tango
07. Somebody That I Used to Know
08. Afternoon in Puebla
09. Black Coffee
10. Parlour Song

Dominick Farinacci, trumpet & flugelhorn 
Christian McBride, bass
Jacob Collier, vocals / arrangement 
Steve Gadd, drums 
Larry Goldings, piano / organ 
Dean Parks, guitar
Jamey Haddad, percussion 
Gil Goldstein, accordion / arrangements 
Mark Mauldin, trombone 
Gabe Bolkosky, violin/section leader; Leah Ferguson, viola; Sawyer Thomson, cello; Heidi Ruby-Kushious, alto flute; Brianne Sharkey, bass flute; Thomas Reed, bass clarinet

Produced by Tommy LiPuma 

Recorded at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts 

Dan McKenna: Video Production
Kyle Bedell: Director of Photography 
Venue: Tri-C Cleveland
Special thanks to:
CCC Metro Theatre Management Team
Dr. Michael Schoop, President of Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus
Paul Cox, PhD, Dean of Creative Arts
Mike Farinacci, Steve Enos, Ron Wynne, Jaymes Poling, Kylie Perkins, Joel Tucker, Claire Mulvaney & Emily Scheiderich


Jeff Denson Quartet - Concentric Circles (2016) RIDGEWAY RECORDS


Concentric Circles is the fifth album by Denson and after the last three where he explored freely improvised music, a unique take on gospels and hymns, and a tribute to the music of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, he has returned to exploring his original compositions in the same vein as his initial recording, Secret World.

Denson’s music pushes through the boundaries of conventions in music. By inventively mixing the world of composed and improvised music, Jeff Denson creates a unique language of his own, where intoxicating melodies and rhythms transport the listener away to unknown lands where vivid hues of tone paint the aural canvas of the inner ear.

The music is steeped in the jazz tradition, where the propulsive rhythms are the heartbeat of the music and the musicians are master improvisers of harmonic structures, song forms, and melodic invention. Where the music diverges from the jazz tradition and creates its unique fingerprint is in the handling of the juxtaposition of the composed and improvised material, the roles and uses of the instruments within the compositions, unique instrumentation itself, its musical forms and the unmistakably memorable melodic language of Jeff Denson. The strength of the melodies transcend genre or idiomatic leanings and plant themselves in the ears of the listeners, leaving them singing them long after the music has stopped.

The title Concentric Circles represents the concept of Jeff’s latest album to be released on Ridgeway Records June 10, 2016. The concept of nested circles around a common center is represented by the fact that Jeff put this quartet together by bringing together the members of his two separate trios: the Jeff Denson Trio with Dan Zemelman and Alan Hall (whom toured recently in Europe and the US with jazz legend, Lee Konitz in support of Denson’s last recording, Jeff Denson Trio + Lee Konitz) and Electreo with bassoonist, Paul Hanson and Hall again on drums. The concept of the concentric circles is represented in the intricate nature of the counterpoint between the instruments in the compositions, which as Denson says, “function like the inner workings of a Swiss watch”.

City Life on Trains
A Thought That Lingers
Wishing Well
Look Before You Leap
Time Waits for No One
21st Century Blues
Once the Door Opens
I Got It Bad

Jeff Denson Quartet includes:
Paul Hanson, Bassoon
Dan Zemelman, piano
Alan Hall, drums
Jeff Denson, double bass, vocals & compositions