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...


Michael Eaton: Individuation

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Individuation, as a concept, can be seen as a parallel to the process of making music. In speaking one's own voice through an instrument and/or through composition, individuals manage to direct their imagination and unconscious into something tangible. Saxophonist Michael Eaton knows a thing or two about this, as demonstrated on his aptly-titled debut.

On Individuation, Eaton delivers a program of distinctive originals. Cycling thoughts, sharp twists in direction, scissoring lines, fervent expressions, fenced-in passages, open pastures, thinly-textured episodes, full-tilt full band work, and tightly-woven vamps are all part of the package. The music can be fiery and fearsome ("Alter Ego"), structurally and sonically intriguing ("Guru"), attractive and direct ("You're My Mystery"), quirky and Monk-ish ("Prickly"), patient in its unfolding, or positively petulant. Angularity, minimalistic notions, modern jazz vocabulary, melodic clarity, and boundary-pushing thoughts all mix together here, regardless of whether Eaton is delivering a single song or investigating larger forms like the five-movement title work.

In bringing his music to life, Eaton leverages the talents of his band mates. Pianist Brad Whiteley proves to be the greatest asset here. He builds foundations sympathetic to Eaton's mindset, moves in lockstep with various players, delivers idiosyncratic thoughts, weaves catchy ostinatos into the fabric of the music, and speaks with authority while doing all of it. Then there's drummer Shareef Taher, who can drive the music or simply act as a cog in the machine; guest trumpeter Jon Crowley, who manages to make an impact without the upper register showboating that so many trumpeters resort to; bassists Scott Colberg and Daniel Ori, who both impress on their respective appearances; and guest saxophonist Dave Liebman, who brings a characteristic sense of urgency to the music. Liebman also brings out the best in Eaton, as the younger player works and succeeds at holding his own against the veteran. This is an auspicious debut that marks Eaton as one to watch.

Track Listing: Interior Designs; Guru; Me, But Not Myself; Alter Ego; Prickly; Centrifuge; You're My Mystery; Individuation: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Lifecycle.

Personnel: Michael Eaton: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Jon Crowley: trumpet (1, 3, 6); David Liebman: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone (4, 5, 13); Brad Whiteley: piano, prepared piano (1-4, 7-13); Daniel Ori: bass (3, 4, 6, 8-12); Scott Colberg: bass (1, 2, 5, 13); Shareef Taher: drums (1-6, 8-13).

Title: Individuation | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Destiny Records


comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Beyond Group / Michael Eaton Trio
Brooklyn, NY
Beyond Group
Downtown Music Gallery
New York, NY
Beyond Group Explorations In Jazz
Tompkins Square Library
New York, NY


Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019
Read Pattern Recognition Album Reviews
Pattern Recognition
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 20, 2019
Read Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969 Album Reviews
Come And Stay With Me: The UK 45's 1964-1969
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition Album Reviews
Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
By Doug Collette
January 19, 2019
Read Circuits Album Reviews
By Sammy Stein
January 19, 2019