Debut albums from saxophonists Logan Richardson and Luis Rodriguez, both on the Fresh Sound New Talent label, hit the spot.
Fresh Sound New Talent
An off beat, a stretched note, a dissonant instrumentthe imperfections which conservatoire music frowns on don't prevent jazz landing artfully on its feet. Saxophonist Logan Richardson's debut album Cerebral Flow eschews the derivative character and high gloss aesthetic of recordings by so many other players of his age, and offers music that is fresh, human and uninhibited. He's accompanied in the main by young players of talent, plus the seasoned drummer Nasheet Waits on half the tunes.
The disc's opener, "Turning Maze," begins with a saxophone solo tinged with chamber and free jazz exploration, alongside a heavy groove vamp established by the band. The title track, which follows, is abstract yet melodious. "Urban Folk Song contains a flowing guitar solo by Mike Moreno and simultaneous solos from Richardson and vibraphonist Mike Pinto, before concluding with a sweet bass and drums pattern.
The inclusion of both vibraphone and guitar, both well exploited by Richardson's complex and lyrical writing, allows the music to move in interesting directions"Animated Concept Of Being is marked by active, evolutionary shifts in mood and intensity, while the drum and saxophone duos "Like Water and "Feel The Blues are complete blow-out numbers, showcasing Richardson's muscularity and post-John Coltrane freedom. Some may be turned off by the adventurous and unpristine sound, but this is fine modern jazz and Richardson is a young cat who we should be hearing more from in the future.
Fresh Sound New Talent
Add Luis Rodriguez to the growing list of impressive sax players from Puerto Rico. His strong debut U-Turn features an acoustic ensemble with modern ideas and both folkloric and urban elements. With a deep velvety tone on tenor and silkiness on soprano, Rodriguez's smooth control is reminiscent of contemporaries like Ravi Coltrane and Marcus Strickland. He's surrounded by a strong ensemble, including rising stars pianist Luis Perdomo and saxophonist Miguel Zenon.
From studies at Berkeley, performing with celestial jazzers David Sanchez and Paquito D' Rivera, to the founding of the Puerto Rico Jazz Composers Collective, Rodriguez has acquired the vision and knowledge to produce original compositions. Each of the nine works featured on U-Turn is thoughtful and accessible.
The title track opens with an ancestral-like call from Rodriguez's hoarse tenor, then develops into a mellow groove with engaged solos and flowing rhythms. There's a nice contrast between Rodriguez's deep timbre and Zenon's piercing alto on "Gnomus as the composition's sections separate and reunite. Other bright moments include the relaxed modal "Big Bad Blues, and the gorgeous "Amistad Perfumada, which features a nice spot from bassist Ramon Vazquez along with Rodriguez's whispering soprano. Another fine debut from a promising artist.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Turning Maze; Cerebral Flow; Urban Folk Song; Animated Concept Of Being; Urban Folk Song; Like Water; Release; Our Life Together; Free The Blues; In The Wall.
Personnel: Logan Richardson: alto, soprano saxophones; Mike Pinto: vibraphone; Mike Moreno: guitar; Matthew Brewer: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums (1,4-6,10); Thomas Crane: drums (2,3,7-9).
Visit Logan Richardson on the web.
Tracks: U-Turn; On The Road; Resolution; Broken Chains; Shining; Gnomus; Big Bad Blues; Mr. All-Wright; Amistad Perfumada.
Personnel: Luis Rodriguez: tenor, soprano saxophones; Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone (2,6); Luis Perdomo: piano; Ramon: Vazquez: bass; Efrain Martinez: drums.
Visit Luis Rodriguez on the web.