1

Jason Robinson: Harmonic Constituent

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Robinson: Harmonic Constituent
If you've ever visited Mendocino County you would have a head start to appreciate saxophonist Jason Robinson's Harmonic Constituent. His week-long retreat to this magnificent Northern California coast inspired this ambitious and diverse recording. Robinson, a musical omnivore previously recorded with the quartet Cosmologic, his Henry Threadgill inspired Janus Ensemble, in duos with Anthony Davis and Eric Hofbauer, and in electro-acoustic settings, to name just a few of his diverse interests.

Robinson's quartet here includes pianist Joshua White (Mark Dresser Seven), drummer Ches Smith (Tim Berne, Marc Ribot, Mary Halvorson), and bassist Drew Gress who accompanied the saxophonist on his previous release Resonant Geographies (pfMENTUM, 2018).

Like the rugged territory that inspired Robinson, the multifarious music is both wild and placid, both clement and inclement. The quartet opens with the zealous and challenging title track, composed to push and pull his band (and listeners) in varied directions. His muscular tenor attack is parried by the rumbling of White's piano and Smith and Gress' pulse. The composition mines a post-bop tension and release that cannot fail to capture your attention.

From there the music softens (for a bit). Robinson sequenced this recording with four interludes "Phase 1" and "Phase 2," "Shear 1" and "Shear 2." These shortish improvised pieces are performed in duo or trio and they act as the micro to much of the album's macro investigation of the Mendocino coast. We dive back into the undertow with "Seventh Wave," which rolls and rocks by way of Smith's drumming and the hyper piano attack of White. Robinson's tenor lifts off with his unaccompanied solo that works both upper and lower ends the horn's register to great effect. Besides the intensity, there's the beautifully simple melody "Jug Handle," a ballad that should be nominated for consideration as a new jazz standard. Gress takes a luscious solo over Smith's brushwork before giving way to White's piano and the embracing hug of Robinson's tenor saxophone. The composition is repeated as a solo piano performance as the closing piece here, and why not end on a gorgeous note?

Track Listing

Harmonic Constituent; Phase 1; Jug Handle; Shear 1; Seventh Wave; Mélange Geometry; Isobathic Sounding; Phase 2; The Interval; Apogean Tide; Shear 2; Mountain In Your Mind; Jug Handle (alt).

Personnel

Jason Robinson: saxophone; Joshua White: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Ches Smith: drums.

Album information

Title: Harmonic Constituent | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.