415

Aaron Irwin: Blood and Thunder

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Aaron Irwin: Blood and Thunder Blood and Thunder sounds like a title that Bob Dylan would give to one of his albums—a mixture of Blood on the Tracks (Columbia Records, 1975) and "Thunder on the Mountain," the opening cut on Modern Times (Columbia Records, 2006). But alto saxophonist Aaron Irwin—thirty years old, bespectacled and white shirt-and-tied in the mode of early Elvis Costello—is the musician behind this Fresh Sound New Talent outing.

Having mentioned a couple of rock artists, it should be noted that Irwin's music is unquestionable straight ahead jazz. He teams up in a front line with tenor saxophonist Chris Speed and with a rhythm team led by guitarist Ben Monder on a set of distinctive tunes that sound fresh and original, with a bit of a bite—sort of in the mode of a jazz Dylan or Costello.

The set opens with an Irwin original, "Like the Sunshine," a tune with an infectious groove and three back-to-back solos—Irwin, Speed and Monder—that each unfold in fantastic form, little twist and turn stories full of quirky beauty and and nuanced surprises. Monder, who contributed in masterful fashion to Maria Schneider's Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007), comps with an adroit zing behind the sax men, and when he gets his turn in the spotlight he gives a master class in glowing, restrained intensity, as drummer Matt Clohesy bumps and sizzles behind him.

"The Wizard" features intertwining lines from Irwin and Cheek, and again, two intricate and articular solos from the sax men on a tune with a gorgeously yearning quality. The title tune opens with a Monder chord sounding like a church organ; and if we're in church via Monder's guitar, the bats (the two saxophones) wail out of the rafters and dart and dive from the high ceiling.

"Back to You": put some lyrics to the melody and go grab Willie Nelson and you'll have a down home hit.

Seven of the nine tunes here are Irwin originals, with a nice mix of moods and stellar playing all around. The band also tackles Cole Porter's "From This Moment On," the two horns and guitar noodling playfully into the familiar melody before settling into a bright groove. The group also takes on Bill Evans' "Very Early," swinging gently before closing the set with "Until We Say Goodbye," with Irwin blowing laid-back lines, joined by guest Eliza Cho on violin for a pretty and poignant wrap-up.

This is an especially fine set by a talented up-and-coming artist who put together a great band for this outing.


Track Listing: Like the Sunshine; The Wizard; Blood and Thunder; Back to You; From This Moment On; Little Hurts; Sprung; Very Early; Until We Say Our Last Goodbye.

Personnel: Aaron Irwin: alto saxophone; Chris Cheek: tenor saxophone; Ben Monder: guitar; Matt Clohesy: bass; Ferenc Nemeth: drums; Eliza Cho: violin (9).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Fourtune" CD/LP/Track Review Fourtune
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "King of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review King of the Blues
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "My Blue Soul" CD/LP/Track Review My Blue Soul
by James Nadal
Published: May 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!