434

Dan Adler: All Things Familiar

Matthew Warnock By

Sign in to view read count
All Things Familiar is a hard-swinging modern bop album led by guitarist Dan Adler. Adler has surrounded himself with a strong ensemble cast for the record, including pianist Richard Samuels, bassist Dmitri Kolesnik, drummer Philip Steward and saxophonist Grant Stewart. The album rests firmly in the jazz tradition without sounding like a carbon copy of an historical recording. The group comes together to lay down tracks that are full of bop vocabulary, deep-pocket swing and highly-creative improvisations.

The tunes on the album are a mix of originals written by Adler and arrangements of classic jazz standards. Each arrangement is fresh and not simply a retelling of these often-recorded tunes. A great example of this is Adler's arrangement of "Star Eyes." While all the elements of the original tune are present in Adler's version, he adds a series of dissonant piano voicings under the intro and A sections of the melody that immediately maks the tune his own. Before going too far with the dissonance, Adler brings the tune back into a swing feel with more standard voicings for the bridge, essentially cleansing the sonic palette before returning to the dissonant harmony for the final A section. It is moments like these that prevent the album from becoming a blowing session, as each of the standard tunes is approached from a new and unique angle.

Adler's playing is consistently solid on every tune. Firmly steeped in the bebop tradition, rarely does a line go by that doesn't exude a deep understanding of the genre's vocabulary. Not that Adler is simply "running lines" in his solos, his playing goes much further than that. While many players will run long lines and phrases taken directly from classic bebop solos, Adler's playing has evolved to the point where he is creating his own new and unique melodic ideas that use elements of bebop vocabulary, but are far from the realm of pure imitation. His solo on "Blues for Keren" is a great example of how Adler takes traditional vocabulary and makes it his own. The solo is full of short bebop motifs that Adler then warps and spins into new phrases that lift his playing to a level where it stands alongside some of the best modern bebop recordings of recent years.

All Things Familiar is filled with hard-swinging grooves, twisting and turning bebop based runs and smart and creative melodic interpretations. The rhythm section is tight and they constantly react to cues from the soloists, while throwing some back as well. All of which combine to lay down an album that is as easy to get into musically as it is intellectually engaging.

Track Listing: If I Were a Jazz Man; Star Eyes; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Talia's Waltz; All Things Familiar; Sivan's Samba; Emily; Blues for Keren; I Love You; Bird's Idea.

Personnel: Dan Adler: guitar; Richard Samuels: piano; Dmitri Kolesnik: bass; Philip Stewart: drums; Grant Stewart: tenor sax.

Title: All Things Familiar | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Talia's Waltz

Talia's Waltz

Dan Adler
All Things Familiar

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Friends on the Moon

Friends on the Moon

Self Produced
2018

buy
 

Back to the Bridge

EastWest Media
2011

buy
Back To The Bridge

Back To The Bridge

Self Produced
2010

buy
All Things Familiar

All Things Familiar

Self Produced
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read New York Trio Album Reviews
New York Trio
By Troy Dostert
July 18, 2019
Read Visions Album Reviews
Visions
By Friedrich Kunzmann
July 18, 2019
Read Invincible Nimbus Album Reviews
Invincible Nimbus
By Jerome Wilson
July 18, 2019
Read Syzygy Album Reviews
Syzygy
By Don Phipps
July 18, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019