All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra: I Go Humble

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Until this new CD crossed the threshold, the name Bjork was no more than that within these precincts. As it turns out, Bjork is a she, an Icelandic singer / songwriter whose given name is Bjork Gudmundsdottir. Apparently, saxophonist / arranger Travis Sullivan is an avowed enthusiast, as he has not only named his big band in Bjork's honor but has recorded at least two albums devoted to her music, which the twelve-piece ensemble has been playing since 2004. If nothing else, Sullivan and the Bjorkestra affirm on I Go Humble, recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York City, that Bjork does indeed write fairly interesting melodies, most of which nestle quite easily into the jazz idiom, thanks in large measure to Sullivan's solicitous charts (and one each by trumpeter Kelly Pratt and tenor saxophonist Sean Nowell).

What the album does not have, of course, is Bjork herself. Becca Stevens sits in for the namesake, and as all the songs are new to these ears, it's impossible to say how she measures up to her exemplar. Stevens sings on every track save "Isobel," Nowell's low-key arrangement for jazz quintet. As for the lyrics, which Sullivan lauds as "an expression of an ever-expanding and evolving process," perhaps they are more readily understood and appreciated by Icelanders. They certainly left this listener cold as ice, not to mention bewildered. Cole Porter or Irving Berlin she ain't. On the other hand, the words may make perfect sense to those of Bjork's (younger) generation who are pretty much unaware of what they have missed.

On "Hunter" and "Unravel," Sullivan uses Brian Cooke 's "laptop programming," whatever that is, to create an ethereal soundscape that may or may not be to pleasing, depending on one's predilection for or aversion to such ancillary trappings. Art Hirahara, a splendid pianist (as he shows on "I Go Humble"), further embellishes the supernal mood on "Hunter" by employing a synthesizer, the pivotal theme superseding Yoshi Waki's introductory bass solo. Sullivan's alto sax is used to good effect on "Hyperballad," somewhat less so (after an animated solo by Nowell) on the martial "Army of Me." As noted, Bjork's music is for the most part agreeable, if less than memorable, and the Bjorkestra plays it well. The question is, what to make of it? That is up to listeners to decide. Some may find it uplifting, others tedious. That's what make the world go 'round.

Track Listing: Hyperballad; Venus As A Boy; Hunter; I Go Humble; Isobel; Army Of Me; Unravel; Joga.

Personnel: Travis Sullivan: alto saxophone; Becca Stevens: vocals; Ian Cook: laptop programming; Sean Nowell: tenor saxophone; Lauren Sevian: baritone saxophone; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Alan Ferber: trombone; Kevin Bryar: trumpet; Eli Asher: trumpet; Kelly Pratt: trumpet; Art Hirahara: piano; Yoshi Waki: bass; Joe Abbatantuono: drums.

Title: I Go Humble | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Zoho Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Jamia's Dance

Jamia's Dance

Travis Sullivan
New Directions

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Melodien

Melodien

Unit Records
2014

buy
I Go Humble

I Go Humble

Zoho Music
2013

buy
New Directions

New Directions

Posi-Tone Records
2011

buy
As We Speak

As We Speak

Self Produced
2001

buy

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Turbulence" CD/LP/Track Review Turbulence
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "The Best of Bossacucanova" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Bossacucanova
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "Live In Healdsburg" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Last Things Last" CD/LP/Track Review Last Things Last
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2018
Read "Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks" CD/LP/Track Review Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 31, 2017