Jason Lindner: Ab Aeterno (2006)
The defining track on Jason Lindner's excellent Ab Aeterno isn't an original composition, it's a medley of two Bud Powell tunes: "Sure Thing and "Glass Enclosure. Powell balanced bebop and classical idioms wonderfully on these songs and showed that even if the two kinds of music were distant relatives, they still shared a common language. Lindner expands on this idea throughout Ab Aeterno by blending various styles of world music within a jazz context, thus building a complete intertextuality.
The overdubbing and layering of the instruments on "Overture augurs what will follow on the rest of the disc. Lindner repeats the same brooding piano vamp as the bass and percussion of Omer Avital and Luisito Quintero slowly build toward a melodica/mbira dialogue between Lindner and Quintero. "The Gathering is an Afro-Cuban delight with bass and piano in perfect sync over the foundation of congas. Lindner plays piano with clear, flowing lines and Avital's plucking is so vibrant it's almost vocalese.
"Song For Amos, a tune forged with classical elements and nicely shifting textures, sounds like something Coltrane's rhythm section would have played when Trane laid out. Lindner's Tyner-ish trills set up some dynamic pizzicato by Avital, with the framework highlighted nicely by Quintero's multifaceted percussion.
One almost never hears a melodica/lute duo on a jazz recording but that's what Lindner and Avital pull off on the title track and it works. The haunting and hypnotic "Monserrate is the highlight of the disc, brought together by Lindner's elegant and daring playing over Quintero's simple percussion and more of Avital's robust pizzicato. Avital plays a beautiful flamenco riff on the oud on "Renacimiento, a tune that builds a bridge between Arabic and Latin music, while seamlessly combining Middle Eastern riffs with a standard blues on "Life Light.
The disc closes with Lindner playing solo on the ironically-titled "New Church, whose gospel theme is as archetypal as can be. Lindner is a fabulous pianist and composer, and he, Avital and Quintero bring a bountiful feast of sounds and colors to the table.
Track Listing: Overture; The Gathering; Song For Amos; Ab Aeterno; Monserrate; Renacimiento; Life Light; Sure Thing/Glass Enclosure; G-Point; New Church.
Personnel: Jason Lindner: piano, melodica & mbira; Omer Avital: contrabass & oud; Luisito Quintero: congas, African brush, bells, bongos, frame drum, maracas, cabash, darbuka, finger cymbals & cajon.