Home » Jazz Articles » John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet: Basement Blues

4

Album Review

John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet: Basement Blues

By

Sign in to view read count
John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet: Basement Blues
Basement Blues is the third Origin Records CD offering from the John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet, following Shot Through With Beauty (2009) and Live Beauty, (2013). Guitarist Stowell's approach is distinctive—silvery chords and pinprick single notes that reverberate from the rafters. Saxophonist Zilber is a flawless, soulful technician on soprano and tenor saxophones. Bassist John Shifflett and drummer Jason Lewis are perfection in the supportive rhythm rolls. It all comes together in a cohesive set that is probing and cerebral and laid-back approachable.

The set features two classics: Jerome Kern's "Nobody Else but Me" and the closer, pianist Bill Evans' "Very Early." All other tunes are originals from the pens of Stowell or Zilber, with one group-written composition, "Later that Night," that—with such a groove—doesn't sound like a free improvisation, though it may well be.

The disc's title tune, written by Zilber, opens the set on a reflective note. Zilber is exquisite on soprano horn, and he adds some almost subliminal piano to the rhythm, a subtle and beautiful sparkle behind Stowell's piquant solo. Jerome Kern's "Nobody Else But Me" is given a playful turn, and "Stowell In Heart," from Zilber's pen, is introspective, wandering, lovely, a somewhat amorphous type of tune that could be mistaken for a Wayne Shorter composition. Stowell's "Violin Memory" features Zilber putting out a robust and gritty sound on tenor sax to contrast with Stowell's effortless grace.

With three disc's now to their credit, the John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet has crafted a group sound as individualistic, and as modernistic and compelling, as any out there.

Track Listing

Basement Blues; Nobody Else But Me; Stowell In Heart; Stay Right There; Violin Memory; Later That Night; I Wish; Have Yourself A Vince Guaraldi Xmas; Stowell Mates; Very Early.

Personnel

Michael Zilber: saxophones, piano; John Stowell: guitars; John Shifflett: bass; Jason Lewis: drums.

Album information

Title: Basement Blues | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Origin Records

Post a comment about this album


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Popular

Exude
Francesca Han & Ralph Alessi
Baker's Dozen
The Muffins
Blues & Bach: The Music Of John Lewis
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio & Orchestra
The Border
Douwe Eisenga

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.