295

Joe Gilman: Americanvas

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Gilman: Americanvas Pianist Joe Gilman leads a young and talented quintet on Americanvas, an album of original tunes inspired by American artists such as Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell. Jazz that takes its inspiration from the visual arts is not rare—British saxophonist Andy Sheppard's Movements In Colour (ECM, 2009) was so inspired, for example. Like Sheppard, Gilman's varied choices are reflected in the music's range of styles and moods ensuring that this is a constantly intriguing recording.

Gilman is an experienced musician and educator, with eight previous albums under his own name, and is a regular in vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's band. His fellow musicians on Americanvas are precociously talented players, all members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, with abilities already well-established, even at such an early age.

Saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown also contributes two compositions to the album, including "Whaam!" The Roy Lichtenstein painting used as the basis for the tune is one of the most recognizable images in twentieth century art, and Lefkowitz-Brown's music creates immediate links to the work. A key musical feature is the slightly discordant clash of notes played by Lefkowitz-Brown and fellow saxophonist Ben Flocks at the top of their ascending line. The tension this creates is heightened by Gilman's rolling piano phrases, while Zach Brown's walking bass line and Adam Arruda's cymbals drive the rhythm, adding to the pace and excitement of the tune.

"Cebola Church" is inspired by a Georgia O'Keefe painting. Zach Brown's arco bass gives Gilman's tune its emotional center, aided by a soprano sax solo played with verve and precision, though sadly, it's not clear whether the player is Flocks or Lefkowitz-Brown. Gilman's musical interpretation of another iconic painting—Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks"—successfully recreates the late-night loneliness of the diner and its inhabitants. This is a smoky blues, with a tenor sax lead line that is simple, but wonderfully effective.

"Yellow, Red, Blue," based on a Mark Rothko painting, is another Gilman composition and another highlight. It's a floating, relaxing, composition whose twin saxophones create a rich, enticing sound. Gilman's own piano and Arruda's cymbals add to the dreamlike feel the softness of the instrumental sounds reflecting the gentle calmness of Rothko's composition.

Americanvas is a lovely album, the inspirational artworks are well-chosen, and their musical interpretations beautifully executed. It affirms Gilman's talents as a player and composer, but also acts as an introduction to four young players of great potential.

Track Listing: Gossip; Where the Wild Things are; Cebola Church; Whaam!; Monkey Puzzle; Nighthawks; Color Arcs in Four Directions; Nothing At All of This is Fixed; Nocturne du Romare; Yellow, Red, Blue.

Personnel: Joe Gilman: piano, Fender Rhodes; Ben Flocks: soprano and tenor saxophones; Chad Lefkowitz-Brown: soprano, alto and tenor saxophones; Zach Brown: bass; Adam Arruda: drums, percussion.

Title: Americanvas | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Capri Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

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 Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Blow + Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Blow + Beat
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "MG50 Peace & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review MG50 Peace & Fire
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Moon Trio: Earth-Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moon Trio: Earth-Time
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "The Expensive Train Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Expensive Train Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 5, 2016

Smart Advertising!

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