154

Marc Mommaas: Global Motion

Joshua Weiner By

Sign in to view read count
A note to ECM label head Manfred Eicher: I've got a new artist for your stable. His name is Marc Mommaas, a Dutch tenor saxophonist living in NYC, and he's just released a fine album on Sunnyside, Global Motion.

The album features the Global Motion Trio, including pianist Nikolaj Hess and bassist John Hebert, expanded to a quintet by the addition of drummer Tony Moreno and guitarist Rez Abbasi. The group creates a sound with affinities to much of ECM's European jazz—an abstract, painterly quality, melodies that wind through twists and turns while retaining a folksy lilt, and an air of wistful melancholy.

Mommaas, who studied with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman, is a musician of much promise; his tone is rich and rounded, with a bit of sandpaper rasp in feistier moments, and his compositions (all tunes on the album are his) are darkly appealing and well-constructed. The quintet can move from song-like melodies to free passages and back without a hitch, and their sympathetic playing provides a cohesion that distinguishes the album.

The opener, "One Way Only," is one of the best tunes, featuring a maze-like melody over an irregularly accented meter that periodically gives way to an agitated bridge played in unison by Mommaas and Hess. An ominous single-note rhythmic pattern provides a base for Moreno's drums to solo over, heightening the tension before the tune is brought home with a final set of changes. "Maktub" and "African FBI" add some Dave Holland-like world beat touches: Abbasi plays an electric sitar guitar (if you've heard Steely Dan's "Do It Again" you know the sound) on the former, which again features a torturous melody before settling into an elegant groove; and Moreno's African percussion duet with Mommaas on the latter is a highlight. Another is "3458," a memorable theme over shifting meters with some wonderful playing by Hess (a real find) followed by a remarkable sax solo where Mommaas begins as if awakened from a dream, becoming slowly more alert as his lines become sharper and more declamatory.

Like other ECM-style groups, this one sometimes dissolves into merely pleasant abstractions that fail to make a long-term impression: the first part of "Copenhagen Suite," for example. Nevertheless, this record establishes Mommaas as an artist to watch, and makes the case for this group to receive wider exposure. Your move, Herr Eicher?


Track Listing: One Way Only, Maktub, Intuition, 3458, Something Else, Revision, African FBI, Copenhagen Suite, parts 1-3

Personnel: Marc Mommaas, tenor saxophone; Nikolaj Hess, piano; John Hebert, acoustic bass; Tony Moreno, drums and percussion; Rez Abbasi, electric guitar, sitar

Title: Global Motion | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "Central Line" CD/LP/Track Review Central Line
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "A Cry For Peace" CD/LP/Track Review A Cry For Peace
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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