's Project Project, this inspiring and imaginative band meshes tradition (with a small "t") with innovation.
Berman's octet covers five early jazz standards (and three of his own tunes), not unlike the forays of early New York Downtown artists of the 1980s and '90s, except their DIY punk attitude (we barely know the songs and are learning to play the instruments) is supplanted by stellar musicianship. Eric Dolphy
opens the 1930s hit "Love Is Just Around the Corner," before the band weaves the melody into both an old-styled and very modern Chicago sound. And why not sing an old tune with a contemporary accent? After all, Louis Armstrong
. The language is early jazz, but that is only the starting place. Berman's "One Train May Hide Another" may allude to the light at the end of the tunnel (could it be a train coming?), with Adasiewicz's slow, dancing vibraphone giving way to a freer section. Didn't see that coming? They bring it all back together in the end. Likewise, other pieces trade off early for modern, and free for orchestrated harmonies. All brilliant and a firm invitation to go all-in on this wager.
Track Listing: Love Is Just Around the Corner; Sugar; One Train May Hide Another; Cloudy; Jada; Liza; I've
Found a New Baby; Mobile and Blues.
Personnel: Josh Berman: cornet; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Guillermo Gregorio: clarinet; Jason Stein: bass
clarinet; Keefe Jackson: tenor saxophone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Joshua Abrams: bass;
Frank Rosaly: drums.