Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

238

Scott Colley: Architect of the Silent Moment

By

Sign in to view read count
Scott Colley's ability to fuse free-form improvisation, complex meters, grooving melodies, rock harmonies and atonality has solidified his position as a New York jazz musician of the new generation. Unfortunately we live in a plagued era in which musical complexity is worth just as much as—if not more than—musical accessibility and the communication of ideas. Architect of the Silent Moment suffers from at least three of the symptoms endemic to this ailment.

Symptom 1: Overplaying. Much of the record comes across as a musician's exercise in who can play the quickest and most complex lines or rhythms. As a result, the players take little time to explore single melodic ideas. Instead, we get an epileptic survey of possibilities that are infrequently enriched.

Symptom 2: Unregisterable melodies. As jazz musicians have grown more technically advanced, they have increasingly sought to imbue their compositions with greater sophistication. In many cases, Colley's being one of them, this comes at a high price: the loss of the listener. You don't need to play tunes out of the American Songbook in order to engage a listener. All you need is the tact to realize what's appealing. This is not to say that a musician should strive to record the most anodyne music possible. Rather, it is a strategic suggestion.

Once a listener is caught by a tune, it becomes much easier to experiment with the bounds of tonality and meter and bring the listener along. Colley's compositions begin in the outer reaches of both and don't even stop once to look back and notice the listener so far behind. Our ears have no guidance and no orientation, except for those given to us by the musicians. Colley's compositions are, in many ways, intellectually unparseable.

Symptom 3: Opaque communication. The most exciting albums are made what they are by musicianship. In jazz, an improvisational music, this requires not only awareness of other musicians, but a willingness to carry and play off of their extemporaneous ideas. To this album's detriment, the rhythm section functions more as a complex background behind the soloist than it plays a conversational role. Conversely, the soloists don't do much to frame their ideas in the context of the rhythm section's groove. I imagine the album's producer could have recorded the two parts separately and overdubbed them with much the same success.

All that said, there are features which keep the album healthy. For one, the entirety of the record is ripe with virtuosic playing. The beautifully sentimental "Masoosong, on which trumpeter Ralph Alessi and harmonica player Gregoire Maret share the melody, is the album's unrivaled highlight. The rhythm, melody and improvisation are all well-thought out and lucidly expressed. Maret's emotional solo broadcasts his unique interpretation of both jazz and the harmonica, also revealing the influence that has resulted from his time in Pat Metheny's band. Jason Moran's piano playing is a vortex of well-placed notes. In a more ideal world, he would have taken Craig Taborn's spot as the man at the keys.

Yet in spite of occasional glimmers of musicianship and promise, the record suffers from one crippling ailment from the outset: the album title is unfairly misleading. With the record fresh in my mind, I'd recommend renaming it Destruction of the Silent Moment.


Track Listing: Usual Illusion; Strip Mall Ballet; El Otro; Architect of the Silent Moment; Masoosong; Feign Total; From Within; Smoke Stack; Window of Time.

Personnel: Scott Colley: bass; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Craig Taborn: piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3; Antonio Sanchez: drums. Special guests: Dave Binney: saxophone; Jason Moran: piano; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Adam Rogers; guitar.

Title: Architect Of The Silent Moment | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: CAM Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Surface of Inscription" CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "Ten Billion Versions of Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Ten Billion Versions of Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "The Conscience" CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017

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!