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Dot Time Records: Placing the Artist in the Center

Jakob Baekgaard By

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Respect for tradition is an important part of the ethos of Dot Time Records. The label's catalog features many artists that reinvent and pay respect to jazz tradition. This can be done in many ways: Through bold reinventions of standards like Matt Baker or a respectful tribute to the swinging sounds of the past on an album like Shoutin' Out where trumpeter and vocalist Herman Nijkamp and saxophonist Jacco van Santen lead a quartet that mainly focuses on standards and manage to recreate some of the magic of the good old days without sounding anachronistic.

Another way of paying respect to tradition is by exploring the oeuvre of a particular artist and this is exactly what Thelonious4 has decided to do. The artist in question is, of course, Thelonious Monk, one of the great composer and players in jazz history.

In the spirit of Monk, the quartet of saxophonist Iman Spaargaren, guitarist Guillermo Celano, bassist Andreas Metzler and drummer Jurjen Bakker doesn't play a streamlined version of the music. Celano isn't afraid to use distortion on his guitar and Spaargaren once in a while gives his horn a healthy honk—just to prevent things from getting too smooth.

But make no make mistake, this isn't just advanced intellectualism, but infectiously swinging and harmonic music . It might be "Nutty," but it's also filled with "Bemsha Swing" to quote two of the Monk-titles played on the album.

A welcome addition to the group's universe is vibraphonist Tony Miceli, who has the same balance between free-wheeling swing and advanced rhythms and harmony. It is simply a joy to follow the unison lines between guitar, saxophone and vibes. This is a group that plays as an organic unit, but still has the refreshing idiosyncratic individualism that characterized Monk's music.

The Jost Project
Can't Find My Way Home
2013

Vibraphonist Tony Miceli turns up again on one of the latest releases from Dot Time Records. He and bassist Kevin MacConnell got the idea for a band whose focus would be to play the rock music they grew up with, bands like the Beatles, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin , in a jazz context.

Instead of playing purely instrumental versions, which would be the easiest thing to do, Miceli and MacConnell decided to add a singer and this singer, Paul Jost, became so important in terms of the band's sound that he got the honor of naming the band: The Jost Project.

Jost is truly an exceptional singer, instrumentalist and arranger whose technical prowess and natural musicality benefit the band immensely. Even when they decide to speed up the tempo on a high-paced version of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" that could easily be re-named "Run This Way," Jost doesn't lose focus. He masters every thinkable nuance of the singer's palette, from lightning-fast scatting to smoky, blues phrasings and elegant crooning.

The band is just as eclectic as its singer and never get stuck in one instrumental bag. Drummer Charlie Patierno is able to change between full throttle rock rhythms, solid grooves and elegant swinging and bassist McConnell is just as intriguing whether he plays with bow or anchors the complex changes in tempo and sound.

The combination between Miceli's ethereal, chiming vibraphone and the down-to-earth grooves of bass and drums become the perfect foil for Jost's chameleon-like ability to change musical expressions at will, but in the middle of it all, the music is carried by a rooted jazz 'n' blues feeling, which makes all talk of postmodern shallowness redundant.

Like all the releases on Dot Time Records, this is music that is carried by the integrity of the artists and not the prejudice of what art should be. With their inside knowledge of what it means to be a musician, Andrew Read and Jo Bickhardt know how to place the artist in the center and this shines through on a label that is driven by the energy, creativity and passion of the music and those who make it.

Tracks and Personnel

Zandscape

Tracks: Barhopping; Wait till the end; Boptopus; Strangeness; What a diff'rence the bass makes; Herbal Brew; Night Song; Padoodedap; Slofunk; Friday Morning; Bouncing Bubbles; Joy Felt.

Personnel: Mark Zandveld: Bass; Gunnar Graafmans: vibraphone; Daniel "Tato" de Moraes: Guitar; Enrique Firpi,: Drums.

Enjoy the Ride

Tracks: Herbie; Can't get you out of my mind; Sassy Strut; Let it be; Rice and Beans; I won't give up; Catch me (if you can); Try it again; Turn it up; Can't get you out of my mind (Inst).

Personnel: Paula Atherton: vocals, alto & baritone sax, flute; Lou Gimenez: guitar; Nick Colionne: guitar (track 3); Darin Brown: keyboards; Schuyler Deale: bass; Eugene Perez: bass (track 5); Eddie Cordew: bass (track 6); Roy DeJesus: bass (track 8); Lionel Cordew: drums; Emedin Rivera: percussion; Chris Anderson: trumpet (track 4); Cindy Bradley: trumpet and trombone (tracks 5 & 6); Deanna Carroll: background vocals (tracks 6 & 9); La Rita Gaskins: background vocals (tracks 2, 4 & 10); Maverick Gaither: background vocals (track 4.)

Along the Road

Tracks: Love Dance; Obsession; Saia Preta; Come Rain or Come Shine; Olha Só No Meu Olhar; Somewhere Over the Rainbow; So Many Stars; Chorinho Pra Ele; Varão; Começar de Novo.

Personnel: Maria Mendes: vocals; Wim Dijkgraaf: harmonica; Karel Boehlee: piano; Clemens van der Feen: acoustic bass; Jasper van Hulten: drums.

Benkshaft

Tracks: A Kleyn Wiglid Far a Groyse Libe; Ikh Hob a Shvalb Gezen; A Toyb Mit a Toyb; Wolekh; Di Waynshlbeymer Blien; Akaties-Wals; Di Freylekhe Kertshme; Der Wint Fun Berg; Khrizantemen; Harbstike Balade; Fli Mayn Foygl; Benkshaft; Wos Iz Geblibn Oyf Der Welt; Ownt; Lucette.

Personnel: Lucette van den Berg: vocals; Reinout Vrijhoef: guitar; Madelien Verheij: Violin; Sanne Möricke: accordion; Andrew Read: double bass; Ines Klink: percussion

Mostly Ballads

Tracks: Paris Bossa; Before; Rising Montuno 1; Rising Montuno 2; Aller-Retour; Revenir; Jardin d'Amour; Modulation Waltz; My Father's Song; Aquarelle

Personnel: Arik Strauss: piano; Tal Ronen: bass; Dudu Kochav: drums.

A2B

Track Listing: Absent Friends; If I were a bell; How my heart sings; A2B; Caravan; Ease my mind; Winter of my dreams; No love lost; Blame it on my youth; Night and day.

Personnel: Andrew Read: double bass; Hans Kawakkernaat: piano; Erik Poorterman: drums.

Promise to a Friend

Tracks: Tracks in the sand; Hope; Promise to my friend; Pedro's blues; Anger and a bit of tears; Human condition; Looking at a liquid sky; Who can I turn to?; Portrait of the day; Always.

Personnel: Simone Gubbiotti: guitar; Peter Erskine: drums; Darek Oles: double bass.

Underground

Tracks: If I were a bell; Underground; Mood Indigo; Refuge; Central Park North; Island of many hills; The Gypsy; Away.

Personnel: Matt Baker: piano; Gregory Hutchinson: drums; Joe Sanders: bass; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Dayna Stephens: Tenor Sax.

Thelonious4 meets Tony Miceli

Tracks: Nutty; Played Twice; Skippy; Four in One; Oska T; Introspection; Misterioso; Bemsha Swing; Reflections; Humph; Green Chimneys; Criss Cross.

Personnel: Iman Spaargaren: sax & clarinet; Guillermo Celano: guitar: Andreas Metzler: double bass; Jurjen Bakker: drums; Tony Miceli: vibes.

Can't Find My Way Home

Tracks: Walk This Way; Daydream; We Can Work It Out; Can't Find My Way Home; Bridge over Troubled Water; Sunshine Superman; Kashmir; Maybe I'm Amazed; In A Gadda Da Vida.

Personnel: Paul Jost: vocals, harmonica & guitar; Tony Miceli: vibes; Kevin MacConnell: double bass; Charlie Patierno: drums.

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