All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

293

Cliff Colon: Contraband

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count


Tacoma, Washington-based saxophonist Cliff Colon takes his inspiration where he finds it. In the case of his debut CD, Contraband, the inspiration comes from music of the 1980's side-scrolling, run and gun, eight-bit video game called Contra, which seems an unlikely source.

But unlikely sources are pretty common in the jazz genre—Miles Davis' reading of "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," taken from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma," John Coltrane's classic take on "My Favorite Things," Sonny Rollins blowing "I'm An Old Cowhand," or, to bring things up to the present, Brad Mehldau's twenty-plus minute rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." The list goes on—jazz artists grab their ideas from all over the place.

Colon has taken the soundtrack of the video game (tunes penned by Kyohei Sada and Hidenori Maezawa) and re-worked it into the jazz format with a high-energy sizzle of sound—two blistering saxophones in front of a hot piano Rhodes/guitar/bass/drums rhythm.

A good portion of the disc fits the 'stamp the accelerator to floor' mode, beginning with the barn-burner, "Jungle." That gives way to a 'prowling the dark streets' vibe of "Base," featuring a couple of fiery and eloquent sax solos.

The music is inspired and modern-sounding from start to finish, with a highlight, "Snow Field," at nearly ten minutes—the longest cut on the disc. The tune builds a rather ominous ensemble momentum from a drifting rumble to a saxophone blow-fest that segues into a Rhodes piano rumination, then back to the edgy intricacies of the sax-led sound.

Cliff Colon's excellent recording debut, Contraband, comes out wailing—first-rate jazz.

Track Listing: Intro; Jungle; Base; The Boss; Waterfall; Snow Field; Energy Zone; Alien Lair; End Credits.

Personnel: Cliff Colon: tenor sax; J. Charles: alto sax; Frank Seeberger: guitar; Eric Verlinde: Rhodes piano, Hammond organ; Chuck Kistler: bass; D'Vonne Lewis: drums.

Title: Contraband | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Contraband

Contraband

Self Produced
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dreams CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dreams
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Live At The Fillmore East 1968" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Masters In Bordeaux" CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Clareia" CD/LP/Track Review Clareia
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Highsmith" CD/LP/Track Review Highsmith
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "An Eye on the Future" CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017