8

Jan Kus Quartet: Faith

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
As a young Slovenian saxophone student, Jan Kus proved so promising that he earned a scholarship from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture to study at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, studies which included tours of Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and The Netherlands, with other young European jazz players. In 2012, Kus crossed the Atlantic to pursue his Masters, studying under saxophonist Antonio Hart at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where he received the Jimmy Heath Award for promising wind players.

His first full-length release as a leader, Faith delivers an excellent lesson in the globally transcendent nature of modern jazz, produced by Kus and instructed by the Jan Kus Quartet: Kus on tenor and soprano saxophones, Sean Fitzpatrick on piano and Fender Rhodes, double bassist Dan Martinez and drummer Joel Mateo. Guest "instructors" include Antonio Hart, electric guitarist Rafal Sarnecki and vocalist Mélanie JB Charles.

Mentor Hart's pinpoint alto helps Kus's tenor fill up "Emptiness." The melody they jointly sing seems to rise from the song's rhythm as naturally as the morning sunrise; later, their simultaneous closing improvisations shoot off rockets and fireworks of jazz sound, sounding like two Wayne Shorters playing at the same time.

The Quartet changes to a bop quintet by teaming Alex Sipiagin's trumpet with Kus's tenor for a brilliantly detailed reimagining of one of Thelonious Monk's most famously spastic bop melodies, "Rhythm A Ning." Fitzpatrick's piano and Mateo's drums insistently tug Martinez's bass into their swirling Latin rhythm, while tenor and trumpet blow hard bop up top.

Charles' graceful voice floats languidly through two tunes. She wordlessly vocalizes with Kus's saxophone in "Strength," given notes but no words to sing; but she carefully studies every note and word in "I'm Just a Little Person," dreamy music matched with longing lyrics, while Kus's tenor breathily complements her singing. The leader swings fully into the instrumental break, playing Lester Young to Charles' Billie Holiday—pianist Fitzpatrick does a good job resurrecting the sound of Teddy Wilson, too. (Faith concludes by reprising this tune as a drum, bass, and saxophone trio.)

The leader's saxophone most brightly shines in "Neófito," joined once more by Sipiagin's trumpet, and the title track "Faith." Spirited from its start, "Neófito" suggests Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P. band ripping through modern jazz with a Latin feel. Piano and tenor sax worriedly chew on the blues to step hesitatingly into "Faith" before it opens into more adventurous musical space.

Track Listing: Disconnect; Emptiness; One for the Band; Aqui; One for the Band--Jan's Story; I'm Just a Little Person; One for the Band--Sean's Story; Rhythm A Ning; Strength; One for the Band--Dan's Story; Neófito; Faith; I'm Just a Little Person (trio version).

Personnel: Jan Kus: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Sean Fitzpatrick: piano, Fender Rhodes; Dan Martinez: double bass; Joel Mateo: drums; Mélanie JB Charles: vocals; Antonio Hart: alto saxophone; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet; Carlos Maldonado: percussion; Rafal Sarnecki: electric gutar; Ziga Murko: electronics.

Title: Faith | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019
Read You Get What You Give Album Reviews
You Get What You Give
By Ljubinko Zivkovic
June 16, 2019
Read Play The Bird And The Bee Album Reviews
Play The Bird And The Bee
By Dan Bilawsky
June 15, 2019
Read Appleblueseagreen Album Reviews
Appleblueseagreen
By Dan McClenaghan
June 15, 2019
Read The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings Album Reviews
The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
By Doug Collette
June 15, 2019