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Album Review

Jordan VanHemert: I Am Not A Virus

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Jordan VanHemert: I Am Not A Virus
The craft is tight, the feeling is refreshing, the sound is quick and precise, and the gestalt brings the individual voices of the musicians into group form, taking turns soloing and working together, interpreting the now into the fabric of the groove. The album covers a full range of expressive energy. "The Path Ahead" (9:28) starts us off with pep and energy, a perfect tempo for forward motion, the next tracks move into crisp contemporary seasons and issues, including that damn virus, and the urgently overdue need for getting around and beyond history to create our future: "Justice for the Unarmed (Black Lives Matter)" (7:38).

The album also spends some time being gently reflective with "Sea of Tranquility" (8:26), and brings us home with a smoothly woven modern interpretative meditation on a traditional (over 600 years old) Korean melody, "Arirang" (7:49), an important intangible cultural asset of Korean heritage, which some say translates approximately to "beautiful groom," and is also said to be based on a historically tragic story.

Dr. Jordan VanHemert is a Michigan-based saxophonist and composer well known for his skill as a modern jazz improviser as well as serving on the faculty at Hope College as Assistant Professor of Music Instruction in saxophone and jazz studies. He is also the Music Director of the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra. VanHemert is motivated by his political consciousness, using his life force and musical groove to illuminate issues of race and social justice, as well as making beautiful music in the jazz tradition.

Track Listing

The Path Ahead; Autumn Song; I Am Not A Virus; Justice for the Unarmed (Black Lives Matter); The Moment; Sea of Tranquility; Arirang Interlude; Arirang.

Personnel

Jordan VanHemert: saxophone; Robbie Smith: trumpet; Lisa Sung: piano; Kazuki Takemura: bass; Andy Wheelock: drums.

Album information

Title: I Am Not A Virus | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Big Round Records


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