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Adam Rogers, an accomplished classical guitarist, brings depth and versatility to his jazz sound. He also brings a fluid improvisational touch, full of forward momentum, on his latest Criss Cross release, Apparitions. Group cohesion is a big factor. The guitarist has recorded with the same lineup on his past three discs for the label, and the sound churns back and forth between tight grooves and loose, abstract feelingmostly in the guitarist's soloswith a practiced ease.
The set opens with "Labyrinth," with tenor saxophonist Chris Potter sizzling on the melody over a shifting harmonic backdrop. The sizzle settles down into steady simmer when Rogers goes into a sweet-toned solo. It's apparent from the get go, with this initial solo, how much the success of the sound depends on the piano/guitar dynamic, with keyboardist Edward Simon splashing brights spots of color behind Rogers' darker lines. "Tyranny of Fixed Numbers" opens on dangerous-sounding rhythm, and Potter blows in with controlled intensity, seasoning the ominous mood.
The music settles into a sad and contemplative spirit on "Persephone", an introspective Rogers-pennedas are all the tunes hereballad. "Continuance" cranks up the tempo again, with a stinging Potter tenor sax emerging from a drifting piano/guitar dance before things slow down to a brief, crisp, gregarious groove that melts away to introspection. The tune, a highlight, goes back and forth between the seamless group interplay and loose, inward abstraction.
Apparitions showcases the magic of a group of very sympatico musicians on a fine set of straight-ahead jazz.
Track Listing: Labyrinth, Tyranny of Fixed Numbers, Persephone, Continuance, The Maya, Apparitions, Amphora, The Moment in Time.
Personnel: Adam Rogers: guitar; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Edward Simon: piano;
Scott Colley: double bass; Clarence Penn: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.