Mahanaim Satya/Art Hirahara/Alan U'ren: The Rhythm Section
Leader and bassist Mahanaim Satya pays tribute to rhythm section jazz giants of the 1960s and beyond with these two volumes. The trio is patterned after the rhythm sections that were crucial to the music being played during this era by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wayne Shorter. Thus, Wynton Kelly, McCoy Tyner, Philly Jo Jones, Elvin Jones, Paul Chambers and those other rhythm section players who were major players in the bop, and post bop/impressionistic eras get honored. On Vol. 1, which was actually recorded later than Vol. 2, the play list is pretty much split between music composed by Coltrane and originals by Satya. It's a bit different on the second where there is no original material and Shorter compositions are in the plurality.
These three fine jazz performers create an intense musical atmosphere on both, but not so intense that it will tire listeners. Much of the credit goes to pianist Art Hirahara who turns out to be the proxy for such leaders as Coltrane, Davis, etc. On many of the cuts, like Coltrane's "Some other Blues" he is much closer to Herbie Hancock than McCoy Tyner. On Vol. 1 Alan U'Ren's drums are as busy (some would say obtrusive) as Elvin Jones' ever were. The highlight of the first session is another Coltrane composition "After the Rain" where Hirahara comes close to capturing Coltrane's unique sonority of sound that was to characterize his music after 1963. At the same time U'Ren is doing his own thing with jagged percussive patterns and clashing cymbals. Quite an exhibition.
I found the group to be more relaxed on Volume 2 due mainly to the change in drummers. Spike Klein is less driven than U'Ren. This new found breeziness is reflected on such tunes as "Lazy Afternoon" and "So Near So Far". Hirahara continues to carry the major load on this CD as he does on the first. His rendering of Wayne Shorter's "Delores" is a delight.
Playing post bop rhythms at their very best, this trio need not align themselves with any rhythm section. Their work stands on its own and stands tall. Both albums are recommended.
Track Listing: Joshua; Some other Blues; Seasons; Lonnie's Lament; Central Park West; Count Down; Be Bop Quick; Moments Notice; After the Rain; Lonnie's Lament (alt. tk.) Delores; I Hear a Rhapsody; Lazy Afternoon; Night Dreamer; So Near, So Far; Fe Fi Fo Fum; Fall; In Your own Sweet Way
Personnel: Mahanaim Satya - Bass; Art Hirahara - Piano; Alan U'Ren - Drums Mahanaim Satya - Bass; Art Hirahara - Piano; Spike Klein - Drums
Record Label: Music in the Vines