20

Michael Oien: And Now

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Oien: And Now
Having been part of the New York scene since graduating from Berklee in 2004, bassist/composer/arranger Michael Oien has obviously taken his time in making his first record.

But it was worth the wait, because And Now is destined to be on many "Best Of Lists" for 2015.

Leading a smoking and very tight quintet consisting of Matthew Stevens on guitars, alto saxophonist Nick Vadeen, pianist Jamie Reynolds and Eric Doob on drums, Oien impresses with the gift of memorable melodies (even hooks!), driving rhythms and architectural arrangements.

The first thing to notice, especially through headphones, is that Oien and Doob play as a single unit. Oien is a very strong bassist, whose lines pulsate with electricity, and Doob anticipates everything he does, providing an extremely stable bottom over which the band can feel unconstrained. The lock-in between them is palpable.

From its first notes, the opening track of "In The Early Autumn" creates a huge visual space with golden fields waving in the afternoon sun; this could be an ECM track if not for the more or less overt references to Americana.

The energy rises from there, as first "Skol" and then "Mad To Live" bristle and strut. The latter track has an added horn, allowing the theme to be become a wall of sound in three-part harmony.

Lowering the temperature a bit, "Ask Anyone" and "Smile This Mile" allow Reynolds, and especially Vadeen, whose alto sounds many times like a soprano, to fly.

Both tracks demonstrate Oien's ability to melodies that are constructed in such a way as to be easily remembered, but having enough twists, turns and arranging to keep the discriminating listener's attention. "Smile" will most definitely get airplay.

"Dreamers I-III," which flow together, feel autobiographical somehow, with the ebb and flow within each extended to be among them all. Finally, "All My Trials," with Oien harmonizing with himself while soloing, closes the circle.

And Now is a tantalizing mix of the extroverted and the personal; it is music to be felt, and which will raise the spirits of anyone who listens.

Fresh Sound? You bet. New Talent? Most definitely!

Track Listing

In The Early Autumn; Skol; Mad To Live; Ask Anyone; Smile This Mile; Dreamer, Part I; Dreamer, Part II; Dreamer, Part III; All My Trials.

Personnel

Michael Oien: bass; Matthew Stevens: accoustic & electric guitars; Nick Videen: alto sax; Jamie Reynolds: piano; Eric Doob: drums. Travis Laplante: tenor sax, track #3). .

Album information

Title: And Now | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Tomato Brain
Tomato Brain
The Golden Age Of Steam
Read The Clawed Stone
The Clawed Stone
John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / Matthew Shipp
Read some kind of peace
some kind of peace
Olafur Arnalds
Read Lost Ships
Lost Ships
Elina Duni / Rob Luft

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.