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Bassist and composer Colin Dean graduated from New York's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2006, and has since played across musical genres that include jazz, hip-hop and indie rock. Shiwasu, his first recording under his own name, finds him in the company of three distinguished fellow musicians on a set of tunes that draw on Dean's non-jazz influences to bring a fresh edge to mainstream modern jazz.
moves between roles with easeher rhythm playing is full and rich, her solos are lyrical and inventive.
Of Dean's own compositions, "Wakan" is a standout tune, a beautiful melody, handled mainly by Z, with some fine percussion from Stranahan and a fluid solo from Dean himself. "Akasha" is the most emphatic display of Dean's hip-hop influencesa solid groove from Dean, Stranahan and Z underpins the melody from Newell's tenor sax, before Z takes over with a sparkling piano solo, full of chunky chords and tight runs. Z also impresses on "Brooklyn Ferry"her playing, coupled with Dean's flowing bass line, evokes the gentle motion of a ship on the water.
There are two covers on Shiwasu: Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart's "My Romance," and Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin's "My Ship." The former tune is given a straightforward, somewhat anonymous arrangement, although Z once again delivers some splendid piano, and Dean's own playing is crisply swinging. "My Ship," from the musical Lady In The Dark, retains its well-known melody but the quartet invest it with a slightly more up-tempo and syncopated arrangement than usual: Stranahan's brushed drums drive the tune along, while Z's piano, Nowell's soprano, and Dean's arco bass each take turns acting as the lead instrument.
Shiwasu is a strong recordingmainstream, but with added influences that lift it out of the well-worn path. Dean is a musician with some innovative ideas and the ability to make them work, and his tunes on Shiwasu signal the arrival of a worthy new talent.
Track Listing: Growth; Wakan; My Romance; Bardo; Akasha; Brooklyn Ferry; My Ship.
Personnel: Sean Nowell: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Rachel Z: piano; Colin Dean: acoustic bass; Colin Stranahan: drums.