Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

Kurtis Adams: Collage

Victor Verney By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Kurtis Adams could scarcely have chosen a more apt title for this release, an eclectic-minded assemblage drawn from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical.

The opening "Blue Fox," has a distinctly West Coast "Cool School" feel, a style to which Adams has rendered homage elsewhere. Here, Adams gives a sense of what Gerry Mulligan might have sounded like had he played tenor.

The following "The Ocean" immediately makes a dramatic shift to Chopin, indicative of Adams' academic background (he is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd University). Marked by the back- and-forth shift between major and minor tonalities characteristic of Eastern European music, it features pianist Nathan Lincoln-Decusatis blending jazz and classical voicings nicely in his extended solo.

Adams gives all three sidemen equal time as soloists. Bassist Blake Meister's excursion on "The Invincible Man" is notable for combining a nimble-fingered attack with a full, rounded tone, while Adams' plaintive commentary implies an ironic statement about human self- delusion—no man is invincible, of course, a fact of life often forgotten by many.

"Arrhythmia" is post-bop with a tinge of the avant-garde, while "3 Degrees" moves into the realm of Bartók and Cage. In "3 Degrees," an adagio series of three-note piano figures underpins a discordia concors exploration by the saxophone and bass. Eventually, the minimalist harmonics fill out, and contradictions are teased into final resolution.

All but two cuts are Adams compositions, showing the strength of his writing chops (which in 2005 garnered him the Best Original Composition award from Downbeat Magazine for his tune, "Instable Mate?"). Lincoln-Decusatis contributes "Peacocking," a strut that is definitely a pianist's tune, complete with thematic parallel sixths and occasional minor seconds marking it as a nod to Monk.

Throughout, Lincoln-Decusatis' piano offers hints and suggestions— Tommy Flanagan, Horace Silver, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner- -pointing to a musician who has absorbed the stylistic vocabularies of the greats and distilled them into his own personal approach, both muscular and lyrical.

The quartet's overall interplay is tight, and Andrew Yore's empathetic drumming is garnished with several tasty solo excursions.

The collection closes with a ballad, without which no jazz CD is complete. Its title, "Bye Starlight," a clever bit of wordplay, alludes to Victor Young's classic tune about Stella. It also refers to one of music's most time-honored subjects—one that presents the challenge of evoking the celestial without being saccharine about it. Adams and his cohorts, including Meister soloing con arco, meet that challenge admirably.

All told, Collage is an interestingly disparate assortment that well rewards listening and is highly recommended.

Track Listing: Blue Fox; Etude Op. 25, No. 12 "The Ocean"; The Invincible Man; Arrhythmia; 3 Degrees; Peacocking; Odd Hours; Bye Starlight.

Personnel: Kurtis Adams: saxophone; Nathan Lincoln-Decusatis: piano; Blake Meister: bass; Andrew Yore: drums.

Title: Collage | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Oh, Clara!" CD/LP/Track Review Oh, Clara!
by Jim Olin
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017

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!