How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Originality plus artistic vision equals an irresistible palette for jazz. Pianist Joe Gilman, music director of the Brubeck Institute's fellowship program, mixes both elements with Americanvas, musical interpretations of 10 American paintings.
"Gossip" begins with a spirited solo piano that shifts gears a few times before bringing in the rest of the band. The saxophones lead in a series of frenetic, stop-time phrases. Bass and drums are fully engaged behind the soloists, starting with the alto sax, followed by the piano and then the tenor. Arruda fills in response to sequential phrases by the alto, piano and tenor. The song ends with the melody and introduction played in reverse.
The jaunty "Monkey Colors" at first sounds like an abstract piece, with each instrument doings its own thing. However, the melody soon becomes clear, with the saxophones and piano playing in unison at one point. As they do throughout the set, Arruda and Brown express themselves freely while underscoring the leads.
Gilman composed seven of the songs on Americanvas, while Lefkowitz-Brown penned "Whaam!" and "Where the Wild Things Are," and associated producer Malcolm Javier Santiago wrote "Nocturne Du Romare." The combination of new music and unrestricted performance creates more than an hour's worth of jazz that's unpretentious and engaging.
Track Listing: Gossip; Where the Wild Things Are; Cebola Church; Whaam!; Monkey Puzzle; Nighthawks; Color Arcs in Four Directions; Nothing at All of This Is Fixed; Nocturne Du Romare; Yellow, Red, Blue.
Personnel: Joe Gilman: piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano; Ben Flocks: soprano and tenor saxophones; Chad Lefkowitz-Brown: soprano, alto and tenor saxophones; Zach Brown: bass; Adam Arruda: drums, percussion.