The 24-year-old Venezuelan-born bassist and composer Chris Mondak presents his latest recording of exciting new jazz on the varied Glass Spheres, offering an intriguing and absorbing selection of originals that explores a range of styles from swing, pop and bebop to avant-garde. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Mondak and his band have become a regular feature in Nashville's burgeoning jazz scene after a brief history of performing in venues from Cleveland to Chicago and New York as well as internationally including in Panama and China.
Anchoring a standard rhythm section of piano, bass and drums, Mondak augments the musical diversity by including guitarist Lindon McCarty and Hunter Smith on the tenor saxophone, forming a quintet of gifted young players with pianist Gabe Feldman and Australian drummer Chris Broomhead rounding out the cast.
The seven-piece repertoire kicks off with the sparkling bebop burner "Low" featuring sprite solo moments from each member of the band. The following "Oath Keeper" takes the sound in a swinging direction playing hard and fast inspired by an episode of the TV show Game of Thrones. In contrast, "Brume" is lighter and melodic and the only balladic-style piece of the set.
Turning to a less traditional number, "In Sleep" is a haunting tune with a hard percussive overtone and not much in melody; a short and introspective piece of music. "Juicy Red" returns the group to a more modern and contemporary sound worthy of repeated spins. The mid-tempo romp of "The Only One" and the slight New Orleans-tinged sound of the finale, "Hats Off,"closes out a session of impressive new material from Mondak.
One of the talented young lions of the jazz world today, Mondak's diverse compositions on Glass Spheres makes for an engaging musical experience.
Low; Oath Keeper; Brume; In Sleep; Juicy Red; The Only One; Hats Off.
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