Saxophonist and composer Juri Pukl is a man of many parts. He has ensconced himself in jazz, but he is also involved with pop, rock and hip hop. His compositions are strongly ingrained in the written note but he views a distant horizon as he and his band mates set out on the road to improvisation. All of this serves him well on EARchitecture.
Pukl balances muscularity with gentleness on this well selected passel of tunes. As an improviser he holds on to a trenchant feeling that rides the waves of emotion he creates or he can caress the contours of a melody before opening it to the wings of his imagination. The parallels find the perfect nest on "Vertical Counterpoint." What begins as a polite conversation with trumpeter Jason Palmer turns into a restless whirlpool. The move, while intense, is logical and when Aruan Ortiz stills the tempest on the Fender Rhodes, the lure is complete.
The title "Intense Brain Actions" belies the warmth and tenderness that head the composition. What begins as a tender ode dissolves into high levels of intensity Pukl once gentle and warm, loosens volatile shards only to be met by the cool ministrations of Ortiz's piano, once more the calm after the storm. The stylistic intervention draws the saxophone into its cocoon, but temperament dictates Pukl escarp the texture with another torrid fusillade. Interest has been constantly primed by surprise.
A funky bass lines kicks-off "Hot as Summer" and sets the canopy for the slinky and sinuous Pukl. But the underlining factor is rap, and Raydar Ellis captures the positive feeling of the words that are wrapped in the simmering swell of the composition.
Pukl's amalgam of sound and approach stamps him as a musician who essays creativity into a fine art.
Track Listing: Digital Life; Crazy; The Beauty of the Unseen; Vertical Counterpoint; Hot as Summer; Intense Brain Actions; Bizgo.
Personnel: Jure Pukl: tenor saxophone; Aruan Ortiz: piano (1, 3, 4, 6), Fender Rhodes (2, 5, 7); Jason Palmer: trumpet (2, 4, 7); Rashaan Carter: double bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums; Raydar Ellis: spoken word (5).
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.