All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Bassist Jeff Campbell's A Declaration of Optimism is a beautiful album with a lot to say, and manages to say it all in a very quiet way.
Beginning with the title track, Campbell's piano-less trio, also featuring tenor saxophonist John Wojciechowski = 15550}}, and drummer John Hollenbeck, establishes an intimate connection between the three instrumental voices. Appropriately, Campbell's voice is dominant, setting the tone on each track. Wojciechowski's ebullient tenor saxophone occupies the foreground, but it's always clear that Campbell is leading the way.
On "South of Las Vegas," Campbell opens with a steady, insistent pulse. Hollenbeck lays the rhythmic foundation on his cymbals, while Wojciechowski plays a mournful melody. The whole effect is beautiful and desolate, much like a stretch of desert highway in the middle of the night.
The album largely consists of Campbell's original compositions, all of which are excellent, with Wojciechowski contributing the rhythmically tricky "Duplicity," a track reminiscent of Miles Davis' 1960s quintet. The other non-original is a version of John Scofield's "Wabash III," which is based on the folk song "Washbash Cannonball." The trio's version contains a magnificent solo from Campbell, as well as some exciting interaction with Hollenbeck.
Each track is a quiet conversation between the three men. No one shouts because there is no need to. Every word and nuance can be easily discerned in the space created by these three extraordinary artists. A Declaration of Optimism is a splendid addition to the canon of piano-less trio albums.
Track Listing: A Declaration of Optimism; Tower of Glass; By Another Way; Gregorian; Duplicity; The Question Is; Wabash III; South of Las Vegas; Hoot Gibson.
Personnel: John Wojciechowski: tenor saxophone; Jeff Campbell: bass; John Hollenbeck: drums.
Year Released: 2009
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Modern Jazz
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...