152

Bob Rodriguez: Corridor

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Bob Rodriguez: Corridor It's a mystery why some artists reach positions of prominence and others don't. Sometimes it's more about being in the right place at the right time than specific musical criteria like aptitude, creativity, and a distinctive personal approach. Since moving to New York in '88, pianist Bob Rodriguez has managed to create a niche through performing, as well as teaching at a variety of notable schools like Julliard. More often than not, however, he finds himself visiting Austin, Texas, where for 25 years the Creative Opportunity Orchestra has been the premiere organization in the American southwest to provide a large collective of musicians the opportunity to explore composition and improvisation in larger contexts.

It's been over a decade since Rodriguez's first release as a leader, the '94 Nine Winds trio date, Mist. And that's a shame, because based on the strength of Corridor, his long-overdue trio followup on the Creative Opportunity imprint, he's a player and composer who deserves a lot more attention. His partners have made their own mark on jazz as well. Mike Richmond is a name that you somehow don't seem to hear often, yet the bassist has performed on well over a hundred dates with artists as diverse as Hubert Laws, Jack DeJohnette, and Stan Getz. Drummer Eliot Zigmund may have a smaller discography, but he has made his name as a sympathetic collaborator in piano trios with Bill Evans, Art Lande, and Michel Petrucciani.

Corridor demonstrates the kind of graceful intent and keen yet refined imagination that, if talent were the sole criterion, would see Rodriguez considered in the same breath as artists like Brad Mehldau and Tord Gustavsen. The pianist has evolved from the school of usual suspects—the romanticism of Bill Evans, the abstraction of Herbie Hancock, and the stream of consciousness compositional thinking of Keith Jarrett. But despite the evocative impact of his lyricism, it reveals a deeper complexity on further investigation that's equally reminiscent of Marc Copland.

His surfaces may be smooth and his edges rounded, but that doesn't mean his approach is lightweight. Whether on original compositions like the ethereal "It's Not That Dark and the melancholy yet strangely hopeful "Inside, or so radically reinventing standards like Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss that one has to search hard for the almost iconic melody, Rodriguez's strength lies in his ability to create a cohesive language that blurs the line between the familiar and the unfamiliar. His elegant vernacular, imbued with a distinctive sense of melody and rich harmony that straddles the explicit and the implicit, makes the programme of four originals, three standards, and one reworked classical piece blend into a narrative where everything feels like it comes from the same pen.

And while the trio hints at power—its take on Coltrane's "Naima builds to a kind of understated crescendo—it tends toward restraint without constraint. Like Gustavsen, Rodriguez's power lies in his subtlety, and Corridor magically continues to reveal more with every listen.

Visit Bob Rodriguez on the web.


Track Listing: Corridor; Prelude to a Kiss; Inside; Naima; It's Not that Dark; Liebesleid; Within the Line; Spring is Here.

Personnel: Bob Rodriguez: piano; Mike Richmond: bass; Elliot Zigmund: drums.

Title: Corridor | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: CreOp Muse


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Glare of the Tiger" CD/LP/Track Review Glare of the Tiger
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II" CD/LP/Track Review Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Sabiduria/Wisdom" CD/LP/Track Review Sabiduria/Wisdom
by James Nadal
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.