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by Troy Collins
Folklords is one of the most adventurous albums to be issued by Delmark Records since Levels and Degrees of Light, the auspicious recording debut of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams in 1967. Bassist Jason Ajemian's second effort for the venerable label, following 2008's The Art of Dying, conceptually surpasses his prior work by leaps and bounds. It shares significant similarities with Abrams' premiere, including the use of spoken word and expansive dynamics that veer from impressionistic balladry to rhapsodic ...read more
by John Sharpe
While the talented cast dazzles, what comes across most strongly on this 42-minute LP is the controlling mind of bassist Jason Ajemian. Part of the fertile underground scene in Chicago, Ajemian has featured with Ken Vandermark and Matt Bauder, as well as cornetist Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra. But none of that really prepares one for the strength of this quartet date. The spirited interaction he draws from a front line of Mazurek and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby is one ...read more
by Nic Jones
This one straddles the divide between the straight-ahead domain and areas of greater freedom with such aplomb that listeners might be left wondering why such categories exist at all. In addition, there's a pervasive low-key quality to the music which serves in itself to further cement this group's distinct identity.
The cryptically entitled Your Shirts" gives tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman a chance to shine and it's clear that there's something endearingly quirky about his way with a phrase which calls ...read more
by John Barron
Bassist Jason Ajemian and his ensemble Smokeless Heat add to the continuing legacy of Chicago improv with The Art of Dying, an intimate reflection on collective musical ideals featuring drummer Noritaka Tanaka and tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman. For much of the session, the group is augmented by Matt Schneider (guitar), Jamie Branch (trumpet) and Jason Adasiewicz (marimba).
Ajemian (Chicago Underground Trio, Lay All Over It, Born Heller) is a bassist of indefinable sophistication. His sound, whether pizzicato or arco, is ...read more
by Troy Collins
Credit the laidback Midwestern vibe, or the relative availability of regular gigs, but jazz musicians from the Windy City sometimes seem to enjoy a more communal sense of development than their East Coast cousins. The highly competitive New York scene may be the undisputed center of the jazz world, but Chicago's fertile scene has generated its fair share of cutting-edge talent. A current example is bassist Jason Ajemian, whose Delmark Records debut, The Art of Dying, features his ...read more