Jason Adasiewicz: Sun Rooms (2010)
Jason Adasiewicz is making the vibraphone a necessary ingredient for music making in this century. His mallets have been featured in recordings by Josh Berman, Jason Ajemian, Harris Eisenstadt, the Lucky 7s, and Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra.
As a leader, his two recordings with Rolldown, the self-titled 2008 disc on 482 Music and Varmint (Cuneiform, 2009) feature Josh Berman, Aram Shelton, Jason Roebke, and Frank Rosaly playing his original compositions. Here, he pares things down to a simple trio with bassist Nate McBride (Joe Morris, Ken Vandermark) and Mike Reed, with whom Adasiewicz collaborates in the drummer's People, Places & Things.
With Sun Rooms, he delivers his version of a piano trio, with five original pieces and three "sort of" standards. Perhaps it is easiest to begin with those pieces, as a gauge of the trio's playing. They play Duke Ellington's "Warm Valley" straight, with McBride leading the melody before playing an overtly simple statement, like humming a favorite tune. Sun Ra's "Overtones Of China," is performed with amped-up forcefulness, McBride and Reed supplying the compulsion, as Adasiewicz applies ringing, simple notes. Like Thelonious Monk or Miles Davis, Reed can say more with economy of sound then a noisy solo. "Off My Back" by Hasdaan Ibn Alia favorite of Max Roach in the 1960scomes closest to Adasiewicz's style. The piece, which opens with the trio producing what might be mistaken for a bit of electronics hum, features a sly mercurial swing that is simultaneously unadorned and knotty.
The remaining five tracks, all originals, are invigorated by the players. "Life" almost prances on the melody before the momentum is slowed with McBride's solo. The vibraphone, like the bass clarinet, can be pushed to extremes, yet never sounds bellicose or threatening. This trio can swing hard, yet the music remains a warming wash of tones and resonances. Adasiewicz' "Stake" is played fast and hard, with Reed's snare drum and ride cymbal chasing the fleet mallets. Next comes the balladic "Rose Garden," with its cascading notessomething that might have been written with the great Bobby Hutcherson in mind.
This disc should be kept in mind when 2010's 'best of' lists are written.
Track Listing: Get In There; Life; Stake; Rose Garden; You Can't; Off My Back Jack; Overtones Of China; Warm Valley.
Personnel: Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Mike Reed: drums; Nate McBride: bass.