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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Paul Bley Paul Bley
piano
John Ellis John Ellis
saxophone
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
sax, soprano
James Zollar James Zollar
trumpet
Rob Price Rob Price
guitar, electric
Jimmy Lyons Jimmy Lyons
sax, alto
Ahmed Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah
trumpet
Sara Serpa Sara Serpa
vocalist
Brian Groder Brian Groder
trumpet
Arun Luthra Arun Luthra
saxophone

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Istanbul Underground" CD/LP/Track Review Istanbul Underground
by James Nadal
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "1954" CD/LP/Track Review 1954
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Life After Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life After Life
by Troy Collins
Published: March 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!