152

The Ganz Brothers: First Steps

By

Sign in to view read count
The Ganz Brothers: First Steps Growing up in Greenboro, North Carolina, the Ganz brothers recorded "First Steps" in 1999, a year after guitarist Keith Ganz joined Steve in New York for a career in music. Now, in 2001, the CD finally is released on Steve's self-produced label, Extravaganza Records. The results are aurally illuminating.

In their early thirties, the Ganz brothers share the compositional responsibilities for the CD, approaching each tune with a definite concept but without predetermined technique. Rather, the music flows organically from the theme, as if limbs from a trunk, and the brothers' self-assured understatement creates tension and listener interest. For example, "Angst" isn't really angst-ridden at all for the listener, even though it is for the musicians who play it as it careens from 3/4 to 4/4 and back again at pleasingly unpredictable numbers of measures. "Angst's" introductory uplift starts the tune lightly and reassuringly before it evolves into bop vocabulary that reveals brother Steve's tenor voice to be reminiscent of Joe Henderson's.

Steve Ganz' "Sonrisa" once again is as much a challenge for the musician/composer as it is for the listener, as he strives to develop a tune that avoids repeating notes. Once he's past the intellectual basis for the tune, though, "Sonrisa" stretches out a tightrope on which the musicians balance harmonic complexity with subdued exploration. The delicacy of the tune means that all of the members of the quartet must remain equally empathetic, George Mitchell's bass rooting the work in a light foundation while drummer Vinson Valega paints backgrounds with brushed swirls and sizzle.

All is not understatement or minor-keyed expressions of private moods, though. "Growing Up" is an entertaining tune with a strong funk bass line and surging accents to move each chorus into the next one. "Debbie In The Dark" turns out to be just what the listener suspects: a pure improvisation over the changes of "Stella By Starlight," so much so that the tune is transformed into yet another one. Keith Ganz had written down his lines of improvisation as he learned the tune and created another composition from it. On the other hand, "A Boot" (word play on Canadian Mitchell's pronunciation of the word "about") proceeds as a 6/4 blues on which Mitchell's elastic push and pull of the beat plays a major part.

Having already performed with some of the better-known names on the New York jazz scene, like Russell Malone and Chris Potter, the Ganz brothers share an interest in creating distinctive and yet unpretentious sounds on their instruments, as well as an interest in harmonic depths of the tunes they play. Not only conceptually, but also in execution, Steve and Keith Ganz create an edge in the explorations of their solos that retains the listener's attention without excessiveness or pretense. The brothers' magnetic fascination with the music is what draws jazz audiences into their field.

Track Listing: First Steps, Angst, The Creeper, Growing Up, Sonrise, Debbie In The Dark, Bossa For Frank, A Boot, My Shining Hour, First Steps (Reprise)

Personnel: Steven Ganz, tenor sax; Keith Ganz, guitar; Vinson Valega, drums; George Mitchell, bass

Title: First Steps | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Extravaganza Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left" CD/LP/Track Review Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "AMa AZa LaNdO" CD/LP/Track Review AMa AZa LaNdO
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Small World" CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Sounds Of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds Of 3
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 17, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!