169

Adam Rogers: Allegory

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz used to be a form of popular music, and indeed a folk music in its own right, before bebop intellectualized it and hard bop institutionalized it. That was a sad development in a way because the music drifted away from the public and ended up holed up in a tiny "art music" niche. When free jazz hit in the '60s, there was no mistaking that jazz would never really go back.

Guitarist Adam Rogers is committed to making serious music for serious listeners. His debut, Art of the Invisible (Criss Cross, 2002), brought an already active sideman to the full attention of the jazz world, and the new quintet disc Allegory offers music of a similarly high caliber. Rogers is a traditionalist in every sense, whether it be in his playing, his group concept, or his compositions (all originals here), but the state of the jazz tradition is an advanced one indeed at this point. Modern jazz, as a category or just a plain description, works as good as any when it comes to describing Allegory.

Rogers paces his compositions. "Genghis" works through arranged melodic phrases (mostly consisting of his instrument placed carefully alongside Chris Potter's tenor sax), loose reunions (more flexible and open), and explicit soloing (Rogers swinging bumpily along, almost funky but not quite there). He makes a conscious use of different meters: three, four, five, six, and seven are all featured on the record, sometimes in the same piece. The band sticks together through the changes, hiding them away and maintaining forward motion. "Orpheus" goes from six to seven and back, taking advantage of Rogers' switch to nylon to reinforce a pensive mood before the piece shifts to a higher gear.

Other than Rogers, the most forward voices on this record belong to saxophonist Chris Potter and bassist Scott Colley. Potter is responsible for most of the edgy feel when the music turns energetic, and Colley has a way of judiciously placing notes into various situations in order to round out harmonies and anchor the music.

The very same seriousness that gives Allegory its heft ironically subtracts from its effectiveness. Melodies are so focused that they rarely stick in your mind, the various changes in the music are abstract beyond ready comprehension, and the playing is so under control that it never really flies free. (Chris Potter provides just about all of the exceptions.)

I guess Adam Rogers has become too sophisticated for his own good. He's obviously talented in just about every respect, but I just wish he would loosen up and get a little closer to the real roots of the music, a place where regular people can pick up the message without putting on a heavy thinking cap and listening over and over again. Could just be me...

Visit Criss Cross on the web.


Track Listing: Confluence; Phrygia; Was; Genghis; Angle of Repose; Orpheus; Red Leaves; Cleveland; Purpose; Angle of Repose - Reprise.

Personnel: Adam Rogers, guitar; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Edward Simon: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Clarence Penn: drums.

Title: Allegory | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Criss Cross


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Bach: Solo Works for Marimba" CD/LP/Track Review Bach: Solo Works for Marimba
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Can't Get Started" CD/LP/Track Review Can't Get Started
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Masters In Bordeaux" CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor