3

Jonathan Saraga: First Vision

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Jonathan Saraga: First Vision Award-winning trumpeter Jonathan Saraga's First Vision, is a skillfully conceived and exquisitely realized debut that brings to mind the edgy, envelope-pushing hard bop of many a Blue Note record in the early 1960s. The modal melodies are artfully orchestrated, allowing each musician the full breadth of his spontaneous creativity without resorting to unfettered clamor. Not a single note is wasted.

Whether on trumpet or flugelhorn, Saraga's clear, elegiac tone weaves intricate musical tales around the themes. "Guidance," a contemplative piece, features Levantine hints, especially in Jeff Dingler's oud-like bass solo.

Saraga's poetic sense comes through clearly on "Wandering Child," opening with lilting, lullaby-like lines alternating between flugelhorn and alto saxophone. Saraga's expressive and circular improvisation, with its strong hints of eastern harmonies, evolves into a troubadour's lovelorn song. Peter Park's darkly simmering guitar brings another dimension to this wistfully memorable tune.

Park leads the rhythm section, supportively punctuating the wind instruments' conversation on "The Reiki Practitioner," another composition with an oriental touch. Altoist Colin Gordon echoes Saraga, creating a haunting ambience before the trumpeter's warm, complex and engrossing flight of improvisational fancy.

Gordon's serpentine saxophone ebbs and flows in an inventive extemporization, alternating between cool expansiveness and fast, piercing and passionate staccato on the angular and bluesy "Rampant Teddy Bear." While the loosely swinging cadence is anchored around Dingler's slightly off-center bass, Gusten Rudolph's bottom-heavy and exhilarating rolling drums produce intricate patterns.

The quintet also exhibits inventive ensemble work on the crepuscular ballad, "Recurring Dream." The languid horns set a laidback mood while the rhythm instruments bubble underneath. The ardent Saraga/Gordon duet fades into a cooler ambience as the group concludes on a nocturnal tone.

On his first outing as a leader, Saraga demonstrates a rare blend of individuality and maturity. Hopefully First Vision serves as the cornerstone for a brilliant career.


Track Listing: Guidance; Rebellion; Recurring Dream; Wandering Child; Rampant Teddy Bear; The Reiki Practitioner.

Personnel: Jonathan Saraga: trumpet, flugelhorn; Colin Gordon: alto saxophone; Peter Park: guitar Jeff Dingler: bass; Gusten Rudolph: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "The Ludwigsburg Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Ludwigsburg Concert
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Roots & Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Roots & Transitions
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Wonders" CD/LP/Track Review Wonders
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "What's Wrong" CD/LP/Track Review What's Wrong
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Taylor Street" CD/LP/Track Review Taylor Street
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Upward Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Upward Spiral
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 19, 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!