December 2, 2009
The December issue of AllAboutJazz-New York arrived this weekend and with it new reviews of guitarist/composer Garrison Fewell‘s latest, Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), and bassist/composer John Hébert‘s debut, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records).
“For the descriptively-titled Variable Density Sound Orchestra,” writes Lyn Horton, “guitarist Garrison Fewell has assembled a group whose members expertly develop the thematic content central to the pieces on the album. Even when the musical lines tend to go in multiple contrapuntal directions, the group behaves as one coherent unit, highlighting certain instruments.”
Stuart Broomer calls Hébert “a musician whose bass is confident in the foreground and whose compositions consistently merge strong musical ideas with forceful emotions. While he has already distinguished himself as a bassist, this is a striking debut as a bandleader for Hébert, the group’s sound, empathy and collective identity all testifying to his focused originality.”
October 12, 2009
This past Saturday on his influential blog, Free Jazz, Stef Gijssels weighed in on drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt‘s new release, Canada Day (Clean Feed).
“I’m sure that many mainstream lovers will also enjoy this one,” he writes, “yet the album has at the same time a kind of unpredictability, a freshness of approach together with an enveloping warmth that is quite unusual. And that sensitivity is to be found in the compositions, the playing and in the interaction. With this band Eisenstadt not only brings a synthesis of many jazz subgenres (from the cool vibe sounds of the sixties to the kind of more modern Dave Douglas approach), but he brings it a step further, showing how modern music can be at the same time clever, rich in texture and emotionally intense.”
January 23, 2009
In a new post on his blog, Bay Area radio programmer Wedge, host of KZSU’s Memory Select on Friday’s from 3-6 p.m., delves into bassist/composer Mario Pavone‘s latest release, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings).
The recording, released in early November, is the debut of Pavone’s Double Tenor Quintet featuring saxophonists Tony Malaby and Jimmy Greene, pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
“It feels like a major step for an already accomplished leader,” he writes. “Malaby helped push boundaries on Pavone’s Boom album and sounds like he’s been let loose here. Greene is less rough-edged in his playing than Malaby but no less energetic, and the contrast of their styles is like an extra splash of color. You could argue [Madsen’s] got more to do with Ancestors’ sound than do the sax players. All this work is grounded by — sometimes led by — Pavone’s own thick, throttling bass lines and hardy solos, and Gerald Cleaver’s funky/free drumming. This is exciting, substantial stuff.”