Amazon.com Widgets

The George Lernis Jazz Quartet: Shapes of Nature (2011)

By Published: | 3,527 views
The George Lernis Jazz Quartet: Shapes of Nature How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Many people recall the tedium of childhood music lessons: the endless scales; impatient instructors; and the drudgery of practice, practice, practice. A few gifted individuals get to move on to bigger and better things, but the vast majority face a conspiracy of limited talent and the distraction of competing interests. Fortunately, those who do possess the requisite talent and perseverance can reach higher plateaus, and occasionally, create something truly interesting and original in the service of their own musical growth, like drummer George Lernis and his Jazz Quartet's Shapes of Nature.

According to Lernis' notes, "All of the tunes on this album are the result of my lessons with [pianist] Lefteris Kordis. I was assigned to take well-known jazz standards as composition models; by altering specific parameters, e.g. replacing the original scales with Arabic maqams, frequent change of meters, subtracting notes, etc., I gradually discovered a personal sound, which I am still exploring and developing." Whatever the original model tunes were, they're unrecognizable now: completely subsumed by Lernis' new melodies, and his band's excellent improvisations.

The first thing that stands out about Lernis' record is that the drummer does not. As a composer, he takes great care with his melodies and changes, but stays away from gross self-indulgence on his drums. Where he does solo, as on the closing "Feeling Groovy," he subtly employs broken, obtuse rhythms. This isn't to suggest that his drumming isn't excellent—it is—but his accomplishment is the complete compositions. Aside from the odd press roll, no one will confuse Lernis with the thunderous extroversion of Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
.

The result is an album with distinct melodies on every track, delivered by the tandem front line of Kordis and alto saxophonist Scott Boni. Boni conveys statements with a high, flowing vibrato, and he is also an inventive soloist. His incorporation of oddly phrased passages is one of the signatures of the record. Kordis' comps in Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
-like fragments, often around gaps in the drumming, but he also goes further out, diving right into the complete improvisation of "Bending Time" with low note rumbles and flitting, weightless cadenzas.

Taking the liner notes at face value, Shapes of Nature is a master's thesis. These are well-sorted, truly original compositions that retain enough improvisational freedom to ensure that the participant's individual voices are well-represented. The opportunity to hear the direct results of a musician's academic studies—and to have them identified as such—is unusual, and in this case very successful.

Track Listing: Early Spring; Squirrel Dance; Canvas; Rhythm Portals; Walking in Rhythm; Bending Time; Feeling Groovy.

Personnel: George Lernis: drums; Lefteris Kordis: piano; Mark Zaleski: bass; Scott Boni: alto saxophone.

Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search