All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

152

Bob Rodriguez: Corridor

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
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

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Portraits

Portraits

Art of Life Records
2012

buy
Portraits

Portraits

Art of Life Records
2009

buy
Corridor

Corridor

CreOp Muse
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen) CD/LP/Track Review
Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)
by Barry Witherden
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Influences CD/LP/Track Review
Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read async Remodels CD/LP/Track Review
async Remodels
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Way Out West CD/LP/Track Review
Way Out West
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Looking Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Looking Forward
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Desert Pulse" CD/LP/Track Review Desert Pulse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Ultimate Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Ultimate Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists" CD/LP/Track Review Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 16, 2017