335

Martin Urbach: Free Will

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Martin Urbach: Free Will Drummer Martin (pronounced mar-TEEN) Urbach's Free Will is a multicolored self portrait. Born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, his experiences have included performing at a young age, earning two music degrees from universities in New Orleans and New York as well as relocating to Astoria, NY, after losing his home to Hurricane Katrina. His debut seems to be an extension of these varied influences, a continuation of music that is modern and flexible to change.

An emotive drummer whose playing can be delicate or wildly bombastic, Urbach also shows an attuned compositional awareness channeled through a persuasive quintet whose instrumentation includes vibraphone, guitar, saxophone and bass. Having played together since 2002, the band's synergy is evident, with a robust integration of melody and improvisation. Like many debuts, Urbach presents variety, but unlike some, this set is cohesive and unpretentious. While Urbach's background might obviously include the sounds of his old stomping ground in "N'awlins" and the metro-centric progressiveness of the "Big Apple," his musical sphere of interests is clearly wider.

This is evinced in the pastoral Americana settings in "Welcome Song" and "Southern Damsels," which evoke the sounds of country music as well as jazz; soothing melodies as comfortable as a relaxing stroll in the park. The band shifts into slightly higher gear with "Luna's Theme," a stylish smooth metered theme carried by Urbach and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper's taut timing as Brian Seeger (guitar), Scott Bourgeois (sax) and Tim Collins (vibes) each color the melody with open solos.

These compositions evoke feeling. "Buscando Paz," is atmospheric, highlighted by Urbach's lyrical drum solo. The skies darken in "I Feel Love For You," then move into fervent avant-bop in "I Broke The Jazz" with astral vibe work and a crisp drum solo. The title track is the recording's showpiece. Written as a prayer for a friend at war, it exhibits a multitude of ideas—chaos/control, harmony/dissonance, distorted guitar, heartfelt solos and an uplifting melody that beckons repeated listens.

This is an auspicious release—subtle in context, yet unpredictable, and performed with passion.

Track Listing: Welcome Song; Southern Damsels; Luna's Theme; Thank You; Buscando Paz; I Feel Love For You; I Broke The Jazz; Free Will; Velvet Swamp.

Personnel: Brian Seeger: guitars; Scott Bourgeois: saxophones; Tim Collins: vibraphone; Pascal Niggenkemper: bass; Martin Urbach: drums, cymbals, percussion.

Title: Free Will | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "The Long Good Friday OST" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Good Friday OST
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Get 'Em" CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Oddara" CD/LP/Track Review Oddara
by James Nadal
Published: October 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.