On their third recording the trio of saxophonist Jared Sims, guitarist Eric Hofbauer, and pianist Tyson Rogers elected to add veteran bassist Cecil McBee and ubiquitous drummer-du-jour Matt Wilson. The group was formed in 1997 when the members of the trio were students at the New England Conservatory. One's impression from the liner notes is that this is their most "inside" album and they chose the added musicians for their flexibility in performing with free jazz players (McBee had worked with Pharoah Sanders and Abdullah Ibrahim) and adaptability to fit into many grooves (Wilson).
The eight compositions are all originals penned by Sims, Hofbauer and Rogers. The album is bookended by the most mainstream tunes "The Priest's Sermon" and "Dead Mouse Blues." Sims enters both on tenor sax with a muscular, metallic tone in the Michael Brecker-Bob Berg mold, while Rogers and Hofbauer come through with some tasty solo work. If the "priest" is someone named Thelonious, the tune did not strike me as an homage, despite the twists and turns of the melody. However, "Dead Mouse Blues" is an attractive and laid back composition that swings. "Abdullah" is an obvious reference to the African pianist, and Sims switches horns for a funky statement and solo and offers a good opportunity to hear the interplay between the sax and Hofbauer's guitar, followed by Roger's comping. "Molecular Mischief" is the most adventurous of the tracks. After a quiet piano intro, McBee, Wilson and Sims seem to be playing in a different phases and in jagged free jazz fashion. Wilson switches from toms to sticks and plays in counterpoint to the others. Hofbauer solos nicely.
So, who will be most attracted to this effort? The group strives to straddle the mainstream and outside playing without alienating its potential audience. It seems likely that listeners who enjoy a more bracing jazz presentation without any stratospheric displays will likely find this music to their liking.
Track Listing: The High Priest's Sermon, Until We Have Names, Abdullah, Bench Carvin', The Old Country, Molecular Mischief, Monkey, Dead Mouse Blues.
Personnel: Jared Sims, tenor and soprano sax; Eric Hofbauer,guitar; Tyson Rogers,piano; Cecil McBee, bass; Matt Wilson,drums.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.