150

Joey Sellers' Jazz Aggregation: El Payaso

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Joey Sellers' Jazz Aggregation: El Payaso In reviewing an album such as El Payaso, it is perhaps best to separate the performance from the music. The performance is quite good; as these dozen gentlemen are first-class musicians from the Big Apple, one would expect no less. As for the music, it is on the whole bright and enterprising, reminiscent of themes by Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, Henry Threadgill, George Gruntz, David Murray, Pierre Dorgé, Vinny Golia (for whose label it was recorded) and other cutting-edge composers. If it doesn't yank my chain, that's a matter of personal taste and certainly no criticism of Joey Sellers, who wrote and arranged everything save the relatively brief and impromptu piece for piano, percussion and winds, "Blame Baker, for which the entire group is given credit.

Four of the seven selections aren't nearly as concise. Each of them runs over twelve minutes; "Odd Children is the longest at 16:26. This epic piece is also one of the more eccentric essays, encompassing several changes in mood and tempo, none of which swings. True, there's a lot going on behind the resolute solos by bassist John Hebert, alto John O'Gallagher, trombonist Joe Fiedler, trumpeter Dave Ballou and tenor Tony Malaby, but it sounds for the most part like an improvised warmup session (which could be as it was intended). Clearly, Sellers has a blueprint in mind; my ears simply aren't attuned to it.

"Carly B. is something else again, an easygoing swinger whose charming passages for brass and reeds are amplified by Sellers' lucid trombone and Dave Berkman's limber piano. To me, that's the album's unequivocal highlight, even though there are a number of invigorating moments on the ballad "Rain as Grace, wherein Berkman's expressive piano and Malaby's eloquent soprano underscore the pensive mood. The busy finale, "Val, is an earnest but choppy showcase for Sellers, Berkman and Malaby, this time on tenor, who show that they can indeed swing when given room and reason to do so.

Even though this won't be everyone's cup of tea, one has to applaud Sellers for staying with his game plan and making it work. I've no doubt that there's an audience for his distinctive themes, but only open minds need apply.


Track Listing: El Payaso; Corrugated Beak; Rain as Grace; Odd Children; Carly B.; Blame Baker; Val (71:32).

Personnel: Joey Sellers: leader, trombone; John OGallagher: alto, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute; Tony Malaby: tenor, soprano saxophone; Adam Kolker: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Taylor Haskins, Dave Ballou: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Fiedler, Noah Bless: trombone; Nathan Durham: bass trombone; David Berkman: piano; John Hebert: bass; Mike Sarin: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nine Winds Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Gin Fizz Fandango" CD/LP/Track Review Gin Fizz Fandango
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 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!