Guitarist Andre’ Bush, a resident of San Francisco’s Bay Area which in itself is a melting pot for artistic creativity, follows up his acclaimed 1996 outing “Darwin’s Waiting Room” with 1998’s “Invisible City”. Here, Bush gets fine support from super drummer Steve Smith and the legendary post-Trane Saxophonist Dave Liebman. Pianist Jack Perla (Winner of the 1997 BMI/Thelonius Monk Composers Award) also shows his skillful wares throughout this project while the entire cast is in top form including Paul Hanson’s intriguing Jazz Bassoon performances.
The opening track, Bush’ “Odd Culture, This..” is bouncy, hard hitting and linear in scope. Bush’ clear toned electric lead Guitar work is enticing and imaginative while Saxophonist’s Dave Liebman and Michael Zilber lash out with spirited choruses above Steve Smith’s commanding presence behind the Kit. Bush’ “Past and Future Warriors” finds the Guitarist toggling between distorted fuzz gyrations and huge wide open Jazz chords which evokes thoughts of the great Jim Hall. Here, the rhythm section of Derek Jones (b) and Drummer Steve Smith prod and push the soloists as the chemistry jibes well among the band. “Past and Future Warriors” is slightly in-your-face yet maintains a genial attitude while Smith’s coordinated and intense Drum solo serves as the coda. Bush’ “Soulmates” is an affectionate ballad featuring Bush’ light, atmospheric Guitar as he makes every note count with subtle nuance and heartfelt sentiment. The highlight of this recording is Jack Perla’s composition and title track “Invisible City”. Clocking in at 15 minutes, Pianist Perla commences with bright melodic clusters as Bush’ states the theme with gorgeous and fleet fingered phrasing while Bassoonist Paul Hanson paints a vivid picture with some startling Jazz licks over the odd-metered backbeat. The Bassoon is an unlikely candidate for Jazz improvisation yet Hanson pulls it off naturally while adding color and depth to the many twists and turns throughout this composition. Perla picks up the pace mid way with some blistering swing induced Piano as Bush churns out a an expressive solo utilizing volume control techniques. On the title track Bush turns up the juice a few notches while displaying versatile and adept chops. Saxophonist Michael Zilber’s “Stations” is a straight-ahead rocker as Bush cranks out some mock-1970’s Psychedelic hard core Guitar work, which may rekindle memories of Jefferson Airplane or Big Brother and The Holding Co. While far from the best track on the CD, Zilber and Bush trade some pretty cool licks; however, Bush’ forte may be his articulate penchant for painting tonal colors. Bush’ “...And Slowly Fall Away” is another fine example of Paul Hanson’s wonderful Bassoon work. Here, Bush and Hanson partake in some delicate phrasing while Drummer Alan Hall provides some effective snare drum work, as if he were playing a Tango.
“Invisible City” takes the listener on an enjoyable and affable ride. Bush is a fine young Guitarist who should only improve as time rolls by. One of the main positives on this recording is that Bush does not hog the spotlight. Everyone contributes mightily; therefore. Andre’ Bush displays mature characteristics with his predilections for attaining a “group-feel” as opposed to falling in the proverbial trap of being overly dominant. Bush’ solos are for the most part elegant, warm and assertive. “Invisible City” shows great depth in composition and tonal color. Andre’ Bush should enjoy a promising future as a fine Guitarist and superb tunesmith. Recommended.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.