Amazon.com Widgets

Curtis Macdonald: Community Immunity (2011)

By Published: | 4,768 views
Curtis Macdonald: Community Immunity How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

"The Jazz Community" is a phrase that shows up in more than a few album reviews, but what does it really mean? Like-minded jazz musicians certainly gravitate toward one another, but they don't live in some massive, hippie-like commune where people play John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
and Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
licks ad infinitum and bow down in front of Mao-like photos of Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
, Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
and Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
. The idea of a jazz community is more about sharing like-minded philosophies, finding acceptance and fitting within a given framework—critically, socially and/or musically. But some artists shun such ideas and still find satisfaction in staying the unique course that they set for themselves. In fact, forward-thinking, one-of-a-kind musicians—like saxophonist David Binney
David Binney
David Binney
b.1961
saxophone
—have created their own mass appeal and close-knit circles by avoiding connections through commonplace ideas and roaming into the jazz unknown. Newcomer Curtis Macdonald appears to be on a similar course.

Community Immunity—MacDonald's debut on trumpeter Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
b.1963
trumpet
' Greenleaf Music—highlights Macdonald's unique compositional voice and showcases a fearless artist who is willing to break free of the shackles of expectations. Macdonald doesn't pander to populist tastes, but he also understands that music is ultimately something to be experienced by others. While many of his originals are built on complex webs of rhythmic motion and high-order modernist ideals that might normally be scary, Macdonald uses brevity to balance the equation. His original compositions can be confounding or cathartic, but they're always succinct and feature stunning displays of creativity.

Cunning and malevolence are an important part of the package, but these ideas don't define Macdonald's work. The saxophonist mixes pungent musical brews ("Second Guessing") with peaceful musical moods ("Mosaic I"), demonstrating wide-ranging abilities as a composer, conceptualist and performer. While a long list of guests help to explore different ideas from track to track, it's the constant presence of singular voices like bassist Chris Tordini that help to create a high degree of consistency across the entire range of music on this album. Tordini's bass lines often darken the mood ("Childhood Sympathy") and help to lay the groundwork for Macdonald's music, but he also proves to be a compelling soloist ("Somnolence IV"). His rhythm partner, drummer Greg Ritchie, beautifully colors the understated numbers on the album and helps to push the envelope on the more aggressive performances ("The Living Well").

While Macdonald graciously shares space with his band mates and guests, it's his own unique voice that really defines his work. His saxophone can be a beacon of clarity ("Community Immunity") or a bird of prey ("Second Guessing"), depending on his mood, but his ideas are always intriguing. With Community Immunity, Curtis Macdonald establishes himself as one who stands apart from the rest but, with a such a unique musical statement, he just might be embraced by the jazz community at large...if such a thing exists.

Track Listing: Community Immunity; Childhood Sympathy; Figmentum II; Second Guessing; Mosaic I; The Living Well; Somnolence IV; Mosaic II; The Imagineer; My Deal.

Personnel: Curtis Macdonald: alto saxophone; Chris Tordini: bass; Greg Ritchie: drums; Jeremy Viner: tenor saxophone, clarinet (7); David Virelles: piano (1, 3, 7-10); Michal Vanoucek: piano (2, 4, 6); Travis Reuter: guitars (3); Becca Stevens: vocals (5); Andrea Tyniec: violin (5).

Record Label: Greenleaf Music

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search