130

Chase Baird: Crosscurrent

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Chase Baird: Crosscurrent Crosscurrent is 22 year-old tenor saxophonist/composer Chase Baird's debut as a leader. These are the basic facts, but they fail to convey anything meaningful about the music to be found here. Crosscurrent doesn't sound like a debut album: Baird's sax playing doesn't sound like it comes from a 22 year-old. This is a beautifully assured recording, full of lovely ensemble playing and creative solos from Baird—who attracted the attention and support of Michael Brecker when Baird was aged just 14—and his talented fellow musicians.

There are two covers on Crosscurrent: Bob Haggart and Johnny Burke's "What's New" and Cole Porter's "All of You." "What's New" begins with delicate guitar and percussion from John Storie and James Yoshizawa. Storie's playing is floating, almost dreamlike, and establishes the tune's atmosphere ahead of Baird's delicate, controlled yet emotive sax.

"All of You" opens strongly and seems to be heading towards up-tempo, almost funky, territory. But the entry of Baird's tenor sax heralds a calmer and more reflective arrangement that includes a smooth, thoughtful, solo from Storie. Baird's own playing is evocative, especially in the closing minutes, as he takes the melody line and invests it with a powerful emotional intensity.

Baird's own compositions are impressive in their range and invention. "Fifth Direction" wears its hard bop influences on its sleeve—it grooves from the first beat. Bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Steve Lyman deserve much of the credit for the tune's drive and vivacity while Julian Waterfall Pollack's piano solo skips and swings delightfully. Pollack's rounded, chunky, left-hand playing is to the fore on "Crosscurrent"—a complex tune that is nonetheless readily accessible.

"Lunessence" starts with some lovely unison playing between Baird and Storie but despite some swinging musicianship the tune lacks dynamics and is somewhat anonymous. "The Traveler" is a little too laid-back and soft for most of its length—it doesn't connect on an affective level until Lyman's hard-hitting, almost aggressive, drum break.

The quality lifts again with "Cascade." From its opening bars this tune is immediately inviting, accessible and, in the best sense of the word, heartwarming. Pollack's synthesizer solo harks back to progressive rock players like Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson—but it's brief, inventive and fun, avoids the trap of self-indulgence that was the fate of too many prog solos. In contrast to the upbeat "Cascade," "Dusk" is a limpid, mellow tune which is centered on solos from Pollack's beautifully light piano and Baird's own rich and rather mournful sax.

"Cascade" and "Dusk" represent the emotional heart of the album, bringing together the joyousness and quiet reflection within Baird's compositions and playing. Crosscurrents is a positive and beautiful recording from a strong new talent. If any more evidence is needed that the future of jazz is in safe hands—here it is.


Track Listing: Fifth Direction; Crosscurrent; Infinite Motion; What's New; Lunessensce; The Traveler; Cascade; Dusk; All of You.

Personnel: Chase Baird: tenor saxophone; Julian Pollack: piano, keyboards; John Storie: guitar; Christopher Tordini: bass; Steve Lyman: drums; James Yoshizawa: percussion.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Junebeat Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "It's A Man's World" CD/LP/Track Review It's A Man's World
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "Colosseum Live" CD/LP/Track Review Colosseum Live
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Empty The Headbin" CD/LP/Track Review Empty The Headbin
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!