All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

7

The Jost Project: Can't Find My Way Home

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Rock 'n' roll and The Beatles created serious challenges for jazz. Soul funk, folk and the rock explosion of the 1960s and 1970s left jazz with an even smaller slice of the pie. Many jazz artists jumped to cover pop tunes of the day, often falling ungraciously between two stools. In recent years contemporary jazz artists have increasingly eschewed traditional standards, instead looking to the songs of Paul Simon, Nik Drake, Tom Waits and Radiohead, for example, for new inspiration. Whether as a knee-jerk reaction to new trends or through a process of gradual assimilation, jazz has always borrowed from other musical idioms.

The four members of Philadelphian quartet The Jost Project have long histories in jazz but the driving force behind their debut recording is the rock and folk music that they were weaned on. Their declared aim is to draw the baby boomer generation of rock fans—old hippies—in to the orbit of jazz. Of course, jazz and rock have been bedfellows since guitarist Larry Coryell, vibraphonist Gary Burton and trumpeter Miles Davis' 1960s forays into the fusion, but The Jost Project is essentially a jazz quartet that applies the physics of swing and bebop to rock and pop tunes.

To jazzify Aerosmith's "Walk This Way"—the only track post-1975—may sound like pastiche but it's anything but; Vibraphonist Tony Miceli's arrangement employs subtle textures from double bassist Kevin MacConnell on arco and deft harmonies between vocalist Paul Jost and vibes, as the quartet glides effortlessly from swing to bebop. Nor is there anything contrived about Jost's boppish scatting, which bristles with the unmistakable energy of in-the-moment improvisation. Jost is an all-rounder; his gravely soul delivery can sound like a cross between singers Otis Redding and Pino Daniele, and he imbues singer John Sebastian's "Daydream" with the Delta blues.

The challenge in tackling such famous and melodically well-defined tunes is to make them sound fresh and to this end the quartet succeeds beautifully. Jost's arrangements carry a bold personal stamp, though one applied with a deft hand. John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "We Can Work it Out" seduces with a hushed Marvin Gaye-esque vocal. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's "Bridge over troubled Water" smolders moodily, revolving around a delicate bass and vibraphone riff; Miceli's solo—driven by drummer Charlie Patierno's bustle—really burns. Nobody is playing it safe here.

The Steve Winwood/Blind Faith classic "Can't Find My Way Home" is given a bluesy twist and features an extended solo from Miceli—impressive throughout—and Jost on harmonica and scat. The singer's perfect pandeiro impression brings a samba vibe to Donovan's "Sunshine Superman," but walking bass recalibrates the quartet's compass towards full-on swing. McCartney's balladic "Maybe I'm Amazed" is sandwiched between two of rock's most iconic numbers, Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and Iron Butterfly's "in A Gadda Da Vida," which are transformed by Jost's soulful delivery and Miceli's dancing improvisations.

The Jost project's invitation to rock fans to get their jazz-head on is a persuasive one; equally, these fine arrangements and the scintillating playing might just entice a few dyed-in-wool-jazz fans the other way across the divide.

Track Listing: Walk This Way; Daydream; We can Work It Out; Can’t Find My Way Home; Bridge Over Troubled Water; Sunshine Superman; Kashmir; Maybe I’m Amazed; In A Gadda Da Vida.

Personnel: Tony Miceli: vibes; Paul Jost: vocals, harmonica, guitar; Kevin MacConnell: double bass; Charlie Patierno: drums.

Title: Can't Find My Way Home | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Dot Time Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Bright Yellow with Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "Salão Brazil" CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Wes Montgomery In Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Wes Montgomery In Paris
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 24, 2018
Read "Someone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Around The Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Around The Horn
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 16, 2017