Justin Janer: Following Signs (2010)
This majestic session by the 25 year-old West Coast altoist is full of his original work. Not directly inspired by his Puerto Rican heritage, the music and accompaniment by Cuban Born pianist Fabian Almazon has an assured sprezzatura (nonchalance), making the music appear effortless. Paired with Akinmusire or, on one track only, guitarist Sebastian Cruz, Janer thrillstrading solid runs of thoughts though improvised, and keeping the melody central to each song.
Janer pairs down the band to just a trio for the off-centered blues of "Loss." His plaintive alto carries the melody with minimum backing. Although young, his sound is quite mature. The disc ends with two burners, the African-rhythms of "California Sky," with a nod towards a joyous percussive sound, and "Bump," a complex and challenging piece that begins calmly, before some dare-devilish outside flights by Janer and Akinmusire.
Ah, the possibilities.
Track Listing: Bright New Day; Following Signs; Alice In Wonderland; Fidelity; Song For Suji; Loss; California Sky; Bump.
Personnel: Justin Janer: alto saxophone; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Fabian Almazon: piano; Sebastian Cruz: guitar; Ruben Samama: bass; Michael W. Davis: drums; Will Clark: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz