3

Dann Zinn 4: Grace's Song

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Dann Zinn 4: Grace's Song Saxophonist Dann Zinn's third release as a leader, Grace's Song, is an intriguing and charismatic album. Interestingly, however, the very feature that makes it consistently engaging also results in a lack of thematic unity. This unevenness can simultaneously delight and frustrate, depending on circumstances.

Zinn is a virtuoso tenor saxophonist inspired by saxophone master Sonny Rollins' brassy and thick sound and sophisticated, recognizable style. Zinn's eloquent, passionate solo burst out of pianist Taylor Eigsti's percussive chords with darkly modal hints on "Live and Learn." His intricate impromptu construct is tightly woven over the percolating rhythm section and, although it wanders far from the original melody, it never meanders aimlessly or becomes abstruse.

Elsewhere, on Sting's "King of Pain," Zinn's undulating tenor unravels with Levantine mysticism like a fairy tale, over drummer Alan Hall's primal beats, which nicely contrast with Eigsti's understated and introspective sonata. Eigsti brings a wistful undercurrent that satisfyingly completes this enchanting tune.

This kind of duality characterizes other tracks on the disc, such as the haunting and cinematic "Western Skies." Zinn's electric saxophone echoes the main theme over galloping rhythms, creating a dusty, far-west ambience. Eigsti's angular and intricate improvisation, with its modal hints, enhance this overall western soundtrack feel. Meanwhile, the vaguely eastern flavor of Zinn's ardent and acerbic tone exquisitely balances the piece as he takes his turn in the spotlight.

Perhaps the boldest and the most unique composition is the contemplative, sax-driven "Red Rover," with its boppish undertones. Zinn's modal saxophone stretches out over Hall's complex and propulsive polyrhythms. Bassist John Shifflett's edgy, intelligent and unfettered extemporization matches Zinn's own free-flowing ideas, making this pensive music quite thought-provoking and intellectually satisfying.

Not the entire record, however, maintains this experimental and explorative rigor. On the funky "Corazon," Zinn's smooth tone flirts heavily with instrumental pop but with enough creative embellishments to askew a full embrace. The energetic and appealing "Jumpstep" is catchy without any extensive improvisations, showcasing Zinn's, vibrato-filled, delightfully laidback groove as Eigsti tastefully adorns the song with classically influenced harmonies.

The title ballad and the closing standard, "Stardust," are also quite alluring without the edgy sense of adventure—both quite mellifluous without being syrupy. "Grace's Song" starts off as a lullaby with heady, shimmering lines, and closes with Zinn's soulful, vaguely R&B-ish solo, while "Stardust" is replete with late night romance—but with only a dash of spontaneity.

Without a doubt, Zinn is fast emerging as an adroit composer and agile improviser with a compellingly singular voice. The duality that manifests itself here can be viewed as both a reflection of this versatility and an indecisive restlessness. Regardless, Grace's Song remains enjoyable and stimulating, even after multiple spins.

Track Listing: Live and Learn; Western Skies; Grace's Song; Jumpstep; King of Pain; Corazon; Red Rover; Stardust.

Personnel: Dann Zinn: tenor saxophone; Taylor Eigsti: piano; John Shifflett: bass; Alan Hall: drums.

Title: Grace's Song | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Through The Hours" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Hours
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "For Massas" CD/LP/Track Review For Massas
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Destinations" CD/LP/Track Review Destinations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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