Jazz is no stranger to eclecticism. Musicians have been bending, breaking, reshaping, and reincorporating since the very beginning of jazz history. In fact, departing from jazz tradition might as well be the definition of jazz.
If that is indeed the case, guitarist Rob Price has, with his current release, At Sunset , marked himself as a classical jazz composer and player. Combining everything from free improvisation to country, blues, and California surf music, Price has made a truly multi-genre, decidedly entertaining album. From the Frank Black-meets-Charlie Hunter tune "Main Title" to the appropriately moody "Where it Snows," Price, with the aid of percussionist Joey Baron, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, and bassist Trevor Dunn, brings each of the album's disparate compositions alive. Executed with restraint, the music is more about mood than overt musical dexterity, and the album benefits from this collected approach.
Highlights include the already mentioned "Where it Snows," on which Dunn contributes a highly atmospheric, extended solo, supported by Baron's distinctively hollow-toned, low key drum work; a 1950s cruise down Sunset Strip, "Night Vision"; and the brooding blues "At Sunset."
Price simultaneously takes his experimentations seriously enough to give them weight, and with enough humor to keep them free of awkward affectation. An enjoyable mix, this is an album for the gut as much as the brain.
1. 1600 Hours 2. Night Vision 3. Icicles 4. Main Title 5. Jack of Cats 6. Where It Snows 7. Mouse Game
8. At Sunset.