339

Julian Waterfall Pollack: Infinite Playground

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Julian Waterfall Pollack: Infinite Playground Musicians are often looked at in terms of their influences, mentors and roots, as if those things constitute some homeopathic magic. Though they don't, they provide convenient markers to use in weighing a frequently intangible level of talent. Twenty-two year-old jazz pianist Julian Waterfall Pollack arrives on the scene as if completely formed, full of innovative insights, technical skills and lyrical nuance. Pollack, bassist, Noah Garabedian and drummer, Evan Hughes have previously served as rhythm section for Joe Lovano and, as a trio, opened for Chick Corea at the Blue Note—in both cases, generating some very high praise. Pollack's first release, Infinite Playground is so good it could be a milestone in the catalog of many veteran musicians.

Case in point: another reworking of "Summertime" could easily be a prescription for mundane but, as the opener on this disc, Pollack infuses the tune with incredible energy and innovation, making it as fresh as a new composition. Similarly, Lennon & McCartney's "And I Love Her" follows and, while paying respect to those masters, Pollack again breathes new life into the song and makes it infinitely more interesting than so many jazz covers of The Beatles. Next up is the first of five original Pollack compositions, "Blue's Knot"—a blisteringly fast, post-bop romp that is executed flawlessly and with a beautiful bass line from Garabedian. And while the technique here is very impressive, it is no less so than this young musician's ability to compose and arrange on such a complex level.

Pollack changes tempo dramatically on "Lily," another original. Spare and a bit melancholy, it is one of the more quietly appealing tunes on Infinite Playground, allowing a moment experience just how versatile Pollack is. Hughes brushes effectively, creating a breeze that carries both Pollack and Garabedian across the landscape. If there is a brilliant one amongst these ten gems, it's "Death of Hamlet," opening with the touch and expressive depth of a Chopin nocturne. Pollack then picks up the tempo considerably, putting emphasis on texture and melodic improvisation before returning to a nuanced solo.

Jazz has often demonstrated an inherent will to survive, thrive and adapt with a mixture of the expected and the unexpected. Everyone has their own benchmarks for when the genre became a personal choice—Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975), Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), or John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965). It's typically a point where innovation meets something once again intangible, and Julian Waterfall Pollack will represent that place-marker for some. They will hear a young man who can take "Cherokee" or "Time After Time" and make them his own, or they will hear new compositions like "Blackberry" and "Forewarning," and realize that there is some extraordinary creative force at work here. Pollack should be around for a very long time, for those who don't get in on the ground floor.

Track Listing: Summertime; And I Love Her; Blue's Knot; Lily; Blackberry; Cherokee; My Funny Valentine; Forewarning; Death of Hamlet; Time After Time.

Personnel: Julian Waterfall Pollack: piano, Rhodes, synthesiser; Noah Garabedian: bass; Evan Hughes: drums.

Title: Infinite Playground | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Junebeat Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Storyteller" CD/LP/Track Review Storyteller
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Binary & Mysteries of the Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Binary & Mysteries of the Deep
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Double Down" CD/LP/Track Review Double Down
by James Nadal
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.