5

Jason Ajemian: A Way A Land Of Life

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Ajemian: A Way A Land Of Life While the talented cast dazzles, what comes across most strongly on this 42-minute LP is the controlling mind of bassist Jason Ajemian. Part of the fertile underground scene in Chicago, Ajemian has featured with Ken Vandermark and Matt Bauder, as well as cornetist Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra. But none of that really prepares one for the strength of this quartet date. The spirited interaction he draws from a front line of Mazurek and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby is one of the main pluses on this excellent set, effortlessly underpinned by drummer Chad Taylor who covers all bases between texture and time.

In fact there is an extraordinary degree of tandem playing by the two horns, whether in rowdy counterpoint or rollercoaster unisons which slowly break into simultaneous soloing. "White Light" establishes that template right from the git go with just over a minute of continuous bickering interchange. Such heady discourse, supplemented by bass and drums which are largely free, ensures an intricate four way conversation. Even when they move into open form, there is still composerly intent in terms of how the leader deploys his resources. Ajemian evokes a variety of moods from bewildering to melancholy but with bass or drums often in opposing camps which creates an undercurrent of tension and uncertainty.

Although Ajemian anchors proceedings in a stately fashion, his solo on the mournful "Living The Sky" recalls Charlie Haden in that every note arrives imbued with gravitas by dint of its careful placement and the silence surrounding it. Arco, he becomes even more expressive switching between pure tones and abrasive scrapes. Malaby's brawny broad brush tenor continually threatens to veer into distortion and controlled overblowing, as he does on "In The Imaginarium," while Mazurek splutters legato streams, sliding from one pitch to the next in a manner suggestive of the late Roy Campbell, before culminating in declamatory flutters, on the same track.

"Yes We Know" proves a reflective but slightly astringent ballad in which the horns alternate. Both the leader and the cornetist also unleash electronic effects, largely subtle echoplexed shimmers which increase the ambiguity, as on the elegiac finale "That When You Come, We Die," to complete a great album with a distinctive sound. One can wonder why such powerful music has taken so long to surface, having been recorded back in December 2006, but let's just be glad it has.

Track Listing: White Light; Living The Sky; All Ups; All Nights; In The Imaginarium; With A Mythador; Occasionally; Yes We Know; That When You Come, We Die.

Personnel: Jason Ajemian: bass, electronics; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Rob Mazurek: cornet, electronics; Chad Taylor: drums.

Title: A Way a Land of Life | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Such A Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Original Demos" CD/LP/Track Review Original Demos
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "All The Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review All The Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.