How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Bassist Aaron Germain has made a point throughout his fifteen-year career as a professional musician to perform in a wide variety of genres. Growing up in Massachusetts and currently residing in San Francisco, Germain infuses the influence of funk, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music to inform a fresh approach to modern jazz. Before You Go features Germain's technical prowess on both upright and electric bass with a stellar crew of sidemen. The disc's ten tracksall composed by Germainare high energy romps with exceptional soloing.
Germain's compositions are lyrical, harmonically interesting and groove heavy. The high-spirited bossa opener "Higashi Nakano" sits nicely against the syncopated funk of "Deep Breath," where the bassist demonstrates proficient electric chops. "Culebra" is an up-tempo bebop workout featuring Germain's relentless upright drive and an intense solo by tenor saxophonist Sheldon Brown.
-influenced, light-as-air waltz "Admiral Drive." Here, Germain sings the melody through the upper register, setting up pianist Matt Clark for an inspired turn. The sparse piano trio setting works well with the swing-heavy drumming of Bryan Bowman.
Out of nowhere, the disc takes an unexpected change of direction on "Bellabou Baiao." The tune has an authentic Brazilian flavor with nylon-string guitarist Ricardo Peixoto and accordionists Adrian Jost and Colin Hogan. Bolstered by Germain's jaw-dropping electric solo, the tune leaves one wanting more from such a dynamic configuration.
Before You Go is an exciting session deserving of wide recognition. The level of musicianship is first-rate and Germain's rousing compositional skills are a delight.
Track Listing: Higashi Nakano; Deep Breath; Culebra; Admiral Drive; Lakefood; Bellabou Baiao; Amaenbou; Wrong Way Blues; Missed Your Meaning; Quiet Sunrise.
Personnel: Aaron Germain: bass; Matt Clark: keyboards; Bryan Bowman: drums; Jeff Marrs: drums; Phil Thompson: drums; Sheldon Brown: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Ricardo Peixoto: guitar; Matt Heulitt: guitar; John Gove: trombone; Derek Smith: vibraphone; Brian Rice: percussion; Adrian Jost: accordion; Colin Hogan: accordion.