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.
The title of this disc might suggest an inward-looking or melancholic listening experience; but the Alex Levin Trio, plus a couple of tenor saxophonists sitting inMax Hacker and Stacy Dillardblows the roof off on the opener, "Blues on Thursday." It's a bright, gregarious, Art Blakey-esque sound, the horns sparring like a couple of free-swinging welterweights, snapping off jabs and flurries in front of a zingy rhythm. Put another quarter in the jukebox!
This is a "with guests" discthe trio is joined on two more numbers by each of the saxophonists; a guitarist sits in on one tune, and a cellist plays on two morebut the title cut, with just the core trio, is an inward-looking, contemplative tune, with a memorable melody and an optimistic feeling. On "Emma's Ennui," a subtle, samba-like number that floats beautifully, Levin and the trio are joined by cellist William Martina and guitarist Chad Coe.
All the compositions on A Reason for Being Alone are Alex Levin originals. He has a nice touch for penning upbeat mainstream jazz tunes with strong melodies, and for changing moods while still maintaining a continuity of feeling.
"Her Solitary Wish" shows some dark colors, with some very strong horn playing from Dillard, along with an inventive Levin piano solo. The drifting, sad-sounding tune "Your Call" features cellist Martina again, while "New Schooled," with Max Hacker sitting in and smoldering on tenor sax, kicks up the energy level a few notches.
A strong, engaging mainstream effort.
Track Listing: Blues on Thursday; A Reason for Being Alone; Emma's Ennui; For Pete's Sake; Her Solitary
Wish; Your Call; New Schooled; Polar Bear Waltz; Blues Through Stained Glass.
Personnel: Alex Levin: piano; Diallo House: bass; Taylor Davis: drums; Max Hacker: tenor saxophone
(1,7); Chad Coe: guitar (3); Stcy Dillard: tenor saxophone (1,5); William Martina: cello (3,6).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.