451

Eric J. Morones: About Time!

By

Sign in to view read count
Eric J. Morones: About Time! When Eric J. Morones enters his solo on "Nathan's Up," the first cut of About Time!, it's a little shocking what authority and gusto this first-time bandleader has. As well he should: a seasoned player, a well-published jazz educator, and a veteran of The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Morones has been playing on the Los Angeles scene for ten years. About Time!, as its title indicates, finally shows off his capacities as a leader and a songwriter.

"Nathan's Up" provides a rich introduction. The tune has a more produced sound than others on About Time!, and the warm, reverberating tone of Morones' horn here establishes a strong foundation for the band. So too does a highly simpatico rhythm section. Theo Saunders, a long-time staple of L.A.'s jazz scene, supports the sax solo with quirky and fleet-footed accompaniment. When Saunders takes his own solo, it's in the guise of a muscular Wynton Kelly, drawing colors rather than vocabulary from the older pianist's work on "Freddie Freeloader." Behind Greg Swiller's bass solo, drummer Bill Wysaske plays with attentive humor—at times thinning out his rhythmic support to only sparse traces on the ride cymbal, at other times cajoling with an implied hip-hop backbeat.

Morones' tenor sax typically has a light, nimble sound, almost reminiscent of an alto or soprano (he holds the alto chair with Setzer's band). His tone is clear and glib; although at this point in his career his sound lacks the gravitas of hoarier players like Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, or Sonny Rollins, he has real range and expressivity, frequently reminiscent of horn men like Joshua Redman.

On "The Last Drive," Kye Palmer, the trumpeter featured on half of the album, introduces a new texture to the band, soon followed by Morones and Saunders, who in turn furnish their own harmonic environments during their solos. This track possesses the album's greatest variation and breadth; the ensemble's nascent potential is all here—they seem most free in their music-making, unconfined and unmediated.

The album closes with "Minor Matters," an excellent blues that recapitulates the group's full range of skills. After the melody bursts forth from a thundering drum intro, Saunders brings in a great solo, drawing lightly from McCoy Tyner (that god of the minor blues) while also taking the song in his own peculiar directions: small, focused clusters of ideas that press against the driving meter and fly into willful runs. When Saunders then drops out, and Morones begins his solo without piano backing, the song takes on a giddy, ascending feel that propels it to the album's close.

Conscious of diverse textures and a range of sounds, Eric J. Morones shows himself to be in every way a top-grade bandleader and a capable songwriter. About Time! signals a ready horn player with a great sound; now, one can only wait to see what he does with his music next.


Track Listing: Nathan's Up; Waltz For April; The Last Drive; Savage Nation; Ballad #1; Bopular; Lucky Seven; Minor Matters.

Personnel: Eric J. Morones: tenor saxophone; Theo Saunders: piano; Greg Swiller: bass; Bill Wysaske: drums; Kye Palmer: trumpet (3, 4, 6, 7).

Title: About Time! | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "The Django Experiment I & II" CD/LP/Track Review The Django Experiment I & II
by Peter Jurew
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Colors for the Masters" CD/LP/Track Review Colors for the Masters
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Salão Brazil" CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

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

Donate!