All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Elliot Mason & Cre8tion: Before, Now & After

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz has no shortage of albums dealing with the past-present-future continuum—quite the opposite, in fact—but few carry as personal a tone as trombonist Elliot Mason's debut leader date. While speaking to broad concepts in dealing with the music's history and the notion of time taking form as one giant through line, Mason also inserts family ties into the Before, Now & After framework. Vocalist Sofija Knežević—Mason's wife, who was expecting their first child when the album was recorded and gave birth to that baby boy shortly before its release—takes her rightful place in the front line here, adding literal and figurative resonance to these songs. Her meditations on love—originals like "Vulnerable" and "Let Me Ask You Something"—address something beyond music while still relating directly to the project at hand.

Mason, best known as one of the low brass titans in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, fills out the rest of this quintet with the rhythm section from that high profile big band—pianist Dan Nimmer, bassist Carlos Henriquez, and drummer Ali Jackson. Together, all five musicians make for a fluid and fascinating unit. Working with a mixture of originals and tweaked classics connected to themes of influence, engagement, and extension through personal growth, the quintet truly finds itself in its element. The title track, an evolutionary tale opening on intrigue, settling into a focused storytelling zone with Mason and Knežević blending to perfection, winding through lines in seven, and taking a swinging detour, mirrors its message about continuing creation; a sleekly-contoured "Caravan," vacillating between an alluring sway in seven and a swinging section in four, still speaks clearly to its most familiar of melody lines; and a hot-blooded "Passion Dance," driven forward by Henriquez's locomotive lines and a sense of yearning, rings true to McCoy Tyner's spirit and Mason's voice.

While the core of this operation is Mason and his individualistic bandmates, the guests that appear on more than half of these eight tracks add volumes to the outcome. Regarding the aforementioned pieces, Cyro Baptista adds percussive coloring to "Before, Now & After," trumpeter Tim Hagans works with a sound and sensibility similar to Mason's on "Caravan," and sibling solidarity rings forth when trumpeter Brad Mason joins his brother for that purposeful "Passion Dance." All three of those artists make their mark in their respective appearances, but none of them make nearly as big an impact as saxophonist Joe Lovano. On "& Then There Were >3," a trio track for two horns and drums that references Mason's growing family in name and through its heartbeat bookends, Lovano and Mason make for an exhilarating combination. And through "Resolution" they carry John Coltrane's spirituality forward in their own own direct-cum-smoldering way.

Those who take this album's context into consideration before checking it out will likely have a richer overall experience than those who only go for a blind listen. The music, however, sells itself and needs no background information to aid it in that department. Mason's monster technique, coupled with his exquisite taste, carries the day, and his wife, JALC comrades, and heavy-hitter friends help him bring this powerful and touching vision to life. And life, after all, is what it's all about.

Track Listing: Before, Now & After; Caravan; Vulnerable; Passion Dance; And Then There Were <3; Resolution; In A Sentimental Mood; Let Me Ask You Something.

Personnel: Elliot Mason: trombone, bass trumpet (3); Sofija Knežević: vocals; Dan Nimmer: piano; Carlos Henriquez: bass; Ali Jackson: drums; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (5, 6); Tim Hagans: trumpet (2); Brad Mason: trumpet: (4); Cyro Baptista: percussion (4).

Title: Before, Now & After | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read For You CD/LP/Track Review
For You
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Espace Cardin 1977 CD/LP/Track Review
Espace Cardin 1977
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review
Song of No Regrets
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Ay  Que Boogaloo! CD/LP/Track Review
Ay Que Boogaloo!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 12, 2018
Read When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions CD/LP/Track Review
When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Lake Geneva CD/LP/Track Review
Lake Geneva
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 11, 2018
Read "The Answer Is No" CD/LP/Track Review The Answer Is No
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 28, 2017
Read "Love, Life, Experiences, Vol. 2: Driving to Purpose" CD/LP/Track Review Love, Life, Experiences, Vol. 2: Driving to Purpose
by Jim Olin
Published: September 9, 2018
Read "Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide" CD/LP/Track Review Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide
by John Eyles
Published: August 30, 2018
Read "First Lines" CD/LP/Track Review First Lines
by Jim Worsley
Published: October 25, 2018
Read "My East Is Your West" CD/LP/Track Review My East Is Your West
by Chris May
Published: October 25, 2018
Read "Live @ Savanna Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live @ Savanna Jazz
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 29, 2018