Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Nasheet Waits Equality: Between Nothingness And Infinity

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Here's one that almost got away. There's so much good new music issued now that it can be hard to keep track even within a single genre. Of course that's part of the reason websites like All About Jazz exist: they help with the filtering. Drummer Nasheet Waits' stellar Equality Quartet gave one of the standout sets at the 2018 Vision Festival, featuring the line up and material from this album which came out unheralded in 2016 on the French Laborie imprint. The CD proves every bit as good as the live performance.

Waits, who fuels the bands of Jason Moran and Christian McBride among others, leads a slightly more left-field but similarly top drawer outfit himself, comprising saxophonist Darius Jones, pianist Aruán Ortiz and bassist Mark Helias. Having assembled such a roster of talent, Waits gives them plenty to do on a program which intersperses three rarely heard covers among five varied and involved originals which recall a modern day version of free-bop.

They often traverse multiple territories, especially on the longer cuts. Even in the opening "Korean Bounce," Jones' bittersweet alto saxophone ranges from pithy abstractions via dreamy musings to choked emotion, a course echoed by Ortiz on Helias' jerkily unfurling "Story Line," veering from muscular syncopation to scuttling runs. There's also room for an inventive pizzicato feature for the author before the return to the initial theme. Jones drops out on the drummer's dirge-like title track (named after a quote from social theorist and writer Franz Fanon, not a misremembering of the Mahavishnu Orchestra classic) opens out for more of Ortiz' angular conversational bluesiness.

It's the covers that reveal the band's DNA, from Andrew Hill's sprightly "Snake Hip Waltz" with Jones' gradually curdling alto, to the two versions of Sam Rivers' "Unity" via an initially pointillist, later restless, take on Charlie Parker's "Koko." Of the two renditions of "Unity," the first is a brief hard driving group vamp embellished by Waits, but it's the extended closing reprise which takes the honors, launching an increasingly energetic call and response between Jones and Ortiz which blooms into all out skronk, before Waits' only solo of the set and the final crisp stop.

It's a dynamite package that deserves wider recognition.

Track Listing: Korean Bounce; Story Line; Between Nothingness And Infinity; Snake Hip Waltz; Unity; Kush; Koko; Hesitation; Unity Bonus Track.

Personnel: Aruan Ortiz: piano; Darius Jones: alto saxophone; Mark Helias: double bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Title: Between Nothingness And Infinity | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Laborie Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019