4

Black Art Jazz Collective: Ascension

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Black Art Jazz Collective: Ascension
On Ascension, the Black Art Jazz Collective, a like-minded sextet co-founded in 2012 by trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery to salute the artistry of their mentors and musical heroes while moving the idiom forward into the twenty-first century, is unbending in its allegiance to the straight-ahead canon espoused by the architects of modern jazz. It's a stance that gives rise to pluses and minuses.

On the upside, this is splendid music, rhythmically and melodically pleasing, well-played by an ensemble whose members are bright and durable pillars on the New York-area scene. On the downside, the burnished performance can't becloud the fact that there's nothing special on the menu, simply well-arranged jazz that seems somehow vaguely familiar. In other words, the meal is meat and potatoes, even though remarkably well-cooked. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that every number is an original composition: three by Pelt, two each by pianist Victor Gould and trombonist James Burton III, one apiece by Escoffery and the late Jackie McLean, and, even more so, that none would have seemed out of place in a straight-shooting Prestige-Blue Note session from the '50s or '60s.

That's not to suggest that anything here is less than appetizing. Everyone writes well, and solos are as sharp and resourceful as one would expect from musicians with their awareness and expertise. Still, one can't evade the impression he/she has heard this before in other contexts. And yet, even an "encore" can be no less than agreeable when it is mapped out as well as this. Ascension embodies jazz whose contemporary framework is bolstered by an unerring trust in time- honored precepts as its anchor.

Track Listing

Ascension; Mr. Willis; Involuntary Servitude; Twin Towers; No Words Needed; Tulsa; Iron Man; For the Kids; Birdie’s Bounce.

Personnel

Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Wayne Escoffery: saxophone, tenor; Victor Gould: piano; James Burton: trombone; Rashaan Carter: bass, acoustic; Mark Whitfield Jr.: drums.

Album information

Title: Ascension | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

A Conversation
Tim Hagans-NDR Big Band
Die Unwucht
Christopher Kunz & Florian Fischer
In Space
The Luvmenauts
Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

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