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.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Capri Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Texas Times" CD/LP/Track Review Texas Times
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Hearts & Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Hearts & Minds
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!