Latin rhythms and Afro-Cuban beats abound throughout Relentless, saxophonist Russ Nolan's strong follow-up to the well-received Tell Me (Rhinocerouss Music, 2012). All of the tracks contained in Relentless are infused with a sharp rhythmic sensibility displaying Nolan's talent as a saxophonist while ensuring that the heavy influence of salsa and Latin-based rhythms shine throughout each piece. Nolan and his sidemen exude energy and spontaneity throughout the eight numbers contained on this disc, six of which are Nolan original compositions. Nolan surrounds himself with talented musicians that are integral to the lively sound achieved on Relentless. Nolan skillfully exchanges ...read more
While saxophonist Russ Nolan's move from Chicago to New York in 2002 was an important turning point in his career, his subsequent immersion in the New York Salsa dancing world has had an even greater impact on his music. Nolan learned to free his body and his mind to the effects of the rhythms as they washed over his very being, and he's allowed this same mindset to seep into his music. Tell Me is all about the Latin groove lexicon, Nolan's musical influences, and the saxophonist's compositional and arranging skills, which seamlessly merge the two. Nolan ...read more
Two Colors (Rhinoceruss, 2004), the first release from saxophonist Russ Nolan as a leader, impressed by virtue of an exquisite partnership with pianist Sam Barsh and the leader's convincing command of both tenor and soprano saxophones. The saxophonist's sophomore effort, With You in Mind, reprises his traditional approach in the context of pianist Kenny Werner's superb piano trio. Nolan's affinity for pianists is again readily apparent on a varied musical program that includes paeans to Trane, Monk and drummer Billy Kilson. Not your run-of-the-mill tenor player who leans on speed or a big round tone to impress, ...read more
It's a feat for a musician to integrate seamlessly into playing within a well-known musical group that is accustomed to playing on its own. This is the tale of saxophonist Russ Nolan, whose release with pianist Kenny Werner's trio, With You In Mind, is a dream come true.
All the compositions on the recording were written by Nolan, except for John Coltrane's Naima," which the saxophonist arranged.
The texture of the music weaves threads of clear direction and touch. Contrasting Nolan's sax with Werner's piano presents a smoothness of line complementing a sharpness of attack. Even though at times ("Diatonicus"), ...read more
With You in Mind is saxophonist Russ Nolan's sophomore effort as a leader, and benefits from the inclusion of pianist Kenny Werner's longstanding trio featuring drummer Ari Hoenig and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, which simultaneously supports and challenges Nolan on a set of mostly his own compositions.
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" is a highlight, putting a clever touch on the theme of bustling city life that has long been a favorite of jazz musicians. Nolan and company evoke the frenetic pace of a subway ride, with metal-scraped cymbals and dissonant piano runs giving way to ...read more
Two Colors begins with a pleasantly laid back meeting between Willy Wonka and Miles Davis--a meeting that has the Pure Imagination" melody from the children's film being reharmonized with Miles' It's About That Time." From there, things get a bit more intense as pianist Sam Barsh, bassist Sean Conly, and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza take the journey through saxophonist Russ Nolan's intriguing musical mind. Nolan switches from soprano to tenor and weaves bop, cool and swing with a dash of Latin into his own melange on seven originals. Two Colors" turns out to be blue in green as the ...read more