All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

RJ And The Assignment: Deceiving Eyes

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Chicago-born/Las Vegas-based pianist RJ channels a soulful adroitness on Deceiving Eyes. Aided by a rotating cast of musicians called The Assignment, RJ creates intricate and shimmering musical patterns on each of the eleven pieces that comprise his debut.

On Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," RJ's sublimely stylish piano lines embellish the theme while bassist Scott Teeple's elegant solo wraps itself around the melody, giving it a bold flavor.

Another bassist, Mariko Kitada, opens Cedar Walton's "Bolivia" with a stimulating and angular vamps. The music's unpredictable tempo wavers in a delightful and unusual groove as Kitada trades her position in the spotlight with Julian Tanaka's bluesy tenor saxophone. Tanaka's smoothly flowing notes contrast nicely with the rhythm section's slight atonality.

On the balladic "I Took A Chance On Loving You," Tanaka's improvises on the beautiful melody with a warm vibrato, as RJ's bright solo builds upon the tenor's mellifluous harmonies. The three-way conversation between RJ, Tanaka and polyrhythmic drummer Paul Ringenbach crackles with life and originality.

The stirring, laidback ambience of the title track, featuring inventive time signatures, is enhanced by another drummer, Terry Wesley II, and electric bassist Jason Bolden. Over these, RJ lays down multiple strata of arpeggios and a lilting series of lines. The music evolves into an electric and ambient space before Wesley brings it to an exhilarating close.

RJ exhibits rich and elegiac lyricism on "Total Praise," brings in R&B sensibilities on "New Beginings," and dabbles with a bit of hip-hop on "Frontin.'" These seemingly disparate genres add spice to the session without breaking the thematic unity, thanks to RJ's virtuosity as a pianist and his alacrity as a band leader.

On this exciting freshman effort RJ and the Assignment exhibits a sophisticated and fervent musical vision. These supremely skilled musicians deserve much wider recognition.

Track Listing: Dolphin Dance; I Took A Chance On Loving You; Suicide Is Painless; Someday My Prince Will Come; Total Praise; New Beginnings; Bolivia; Deceiving Eyes; Frontin'; Winter In Chicago; Where R U.

Personnel: RJ: piano, keyboards; Julian Tanaka: tenor saxophone (2, 7); Paul Ringenbach: drums (1-4); Terry Wesley II: drums (6, 8-11); Kenneth Logan: drums (7); Scott Teeple: acoustic bass (1-4); Mariko Kitada: acoustic bass (7); Jason Bolden: electric bass (6-11); Jeanine Smith: vocals (11).

Title: Deceiving Eyes | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Resting Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Resting Spirit
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" CD/LP/Track Review You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor" CD/LP/Track Review Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor
by Chris May
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by John Sharpe
Published: December 29, 2017