All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Seven

Seven

ArtistShare
2017

buy
Empire

Empire

CAM Jazz
2011

buy
Empire

Empire

CAM Jazz
2010

buy
Initial Wisdom

Initial Wisdom

Palmetto Records
2002

buy

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Meditation Tape" CD/LP/Track Review Meditation Tape
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "In The Shadow Of A Cloud" CD/LP/Track Review In The Shadow Of A Cloud
by John Kelman
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Eternal Life" CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017