Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown: Varmint (2010)

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Jason Adasiewiczâs Rolldown: Varmint
Varmint is the second release from vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown, following its self-titled 2008 debut on 482 Music. It's clear, from this program, that Rolldown is not content to stay in one place; no mean feat, considering the extent to which this music pays homage to Blue Note's documentation of artists like Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
1937 - 2007
piano
and Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
1923 - 2011
sax, tenor
almost half a century ago.

The term homage is especially pertinent, as these performances don't merely flirt with the repertorial. Instead, they invoke visions of 1960s-era Blue Note, even as the players work toward setting out some personal wares. Nowhere is this more evident than Adasiewicz; his phrasing, perhaps inevitably, holding faint echoes of both Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
b.1941
vibraphone
in his prime and the sadly neglected Walt Dickerson
Walt Dickerson
Walt Dickerson
1928 - 2008
vibraphone
. Still, it is entirely his own, and his deployment of reverb gives his work a particularly liquid quality. On "Hide," all sorts of temporal discontinuities lend the music a singular air; indeed, when bassist Jason Roebke walks, it's with all the panache of an intoxicated bank clerk on a half-day holiday.

It could be argued that the presence of Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
and James Spaulding
James Spaulding
James Spaulding
b.1937
sax, alto
looms large over saxophonist Aram Shelton
Aram Shelton
Aram Shelton
b.1976
saxophone
. He has, however, got his own thing going on, with the influence of John Tchicai
John Tchicai
John Tchicai
1936 - 2012
saxophone
about him as well, in the manner by which he fashions his contributions. As an improviser, he possesses the mind of a composer, such is the consideration he puts into his work; an impression exemplified by his work in the tricky waters of Andrew Hill's "The Griots" where, for all the speed and dexterity of his execution, there is an underlying air of consideration.

Comparing cornetist Josh Berman to the likes of Don Cherry

Don Cherry
Don Cherry
1936 - 1995
trumpet
, Mongezi Feza—even Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
, on those all too infrequent occasions when he recorded on cornet—only serves the purpose of positioning him within a much broader continuum. His work on "Varmint" demonstrates that the cornet is the instrument on which he best expresses himself. In an odd way, its brightness suits his simultaneously bright yet diffident musical personality, with the leader showing what a singular accompanist he is.

Track Listing: Green Grass; Varmint; Dagger; Hide; I Hope She Is Awake; Punchbug; The Griots.

Personnel: Josh Berman: cornet; Aram Shelton: alto sax, clarinet; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Jason Roebke: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.

Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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