Jordan Young: Cymbal Melodies (2012)
Drummer Jordan Young took the organ quartet outside of its stylistic comfort zone on his debut, Jordan Young Group (Self Produced, 2010), and continues to carve his own path within this format on this enjoyable follow-up. Young reconvenes the quartet from his first leader date, with Avi Rothbard taking the place of guitarist Yotam Silberstein, and puts together an appealing, covers-heavy program that speaks to his musical likes and varied interests.
The standard, greasy blues numbers that are de rigueur for organ groups don't seem to appeal to Young, so he calls on his own musical muses to give him sustenance. He mades it clear that he is a '60s Blue Note fan, as he turned to the works of saxophonists Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter on his first leader date, and furthers that disposition here by taking a stab at guitarist Grant Green ("Grantstand") and trumpeter Lee Morgan ("Free Wheelin'"). Jazz musician standbys like "Easy Living," taken at a fast clip, and "Ghost Of A Chance," which belongs to Rothbard's melodious guitar, fill a few more spots on the playlist, but Young doesn't stop there. Curveballs, like a funked-up take on Burt Bacharach's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and an odd pass at The Police's "Roxanne," which eventually falls into organ chaos due to Brian Charette's madcap machinations, keep everybody on their toes. The inclusion of a saxophone and drum duo take on a tune by Irving Berlin furthers the notion that Jordan Young keeps his iPod and mind on random shuffle.
While eight of the ten tracks presented herein belong to others, Young does manage to throw two of his originals into the mix and both prove to be winners. The comfortable pace and melodious nature of "Bird Bath" contribute to its charm, while "Mood For McCann" has a hip, boogaloo vibe that owes a debt to Morgan's "Sidewinder," the slickly appealing work of saxophonist Eddie Harris and the music he made with the presumed namesake of the piece, key tickler Les McCann.
The title of this record, which appears to be a shameful pun on "simple melodies," rings true in the end. Young delivers another behind-the-kit date that's all about the music rather than the leader's muscles; a clear sign of musical maturity and selflessness, if ever there was one.
Track Listing: By The Time I Get To Phoenix; Free Wheelin'; Ghost Of A Chance; Roxanne; Grantstand; Best Thing For You Is Me; Bird Bath; Mood For McCann; Easy Living.
Personnel: Jordan Young: drums; Brian Charette: organ; Avi Rothbard: guitar; Joe Sucato: saxophone.