Keyboardist and composer James Carney might be described as a friendly iconoclast, an artist who enthusiastically explores new concepts at the cutting edge of jazz and welcomes listeners to share what he's discovered instead of daring them to keep up. The borough of Brooklyn is the inspiration for Carney's Green-Wood, where he joins some old friends to create an impressive aural feast.
Carney is a stylistic chameleon who uses different textures and colors to create tension and augment a song's complexity. "Power, for instance, gradually evolves like a small galaxy until the song becomes a cohesive free jazz unit with all of the elements in their proper orbits. "Smog Cutter, driven by Carney's synthesizer and Mark Ferber's drumming, is a solid example of electro-funk in the fusion tradition of Herbie Hancock. The heartfelt "It's Always Cold When You're Leaving has an almost Ellingtonian type of orchestration and arrangement, whereas "Shame is a different kind of symphony, with Ralph Alessi's trumpet, Peter Epstein's soprano, Tony Malaby's tenor and Josh Roseman's trombone combining for a gritty, complex sound reminiscent of Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965) or Meditations (Impulse!, 1966). These same horns tenderly answer each other on "Williwaw instead of trying to blow each other away. "In Lieu Of Crossroads has a plucked bass solo by Chris Lightcap at its hub that leads to another free jazz excursion.
Any brief moments of conventionality on Green-Wood are trumped by Carney's eclecticism. His excellent composing transcends the established musical borders and stares down current definitions of what jazz should be.
Track Listing: Power; Smog Cutter; It
Personnel: Peter Epstein: soprano saxophone; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone;
Josh Roseman: trombone; James Carney: acoustic and electric pianos, analog synthesizer and orchestra bells; Chris Lightcap: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.