177

Jamie Stewardson: Jhaptal

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
A Berklee and New England Conservatory graduate, guitarist Jamie Stewardson spent time gigging with jazz legends George Russell, Jimmy Giuffre and Mat Maneri after paying his dues backing up pop and soul acts on cruise ships. With a stellar backing band and a solid release to his name, Stewardson's days supporting road weary Motown acts should be a thing of the past. Jhaptal is Stewardson's second album as a leader.

Knitting Ornette Coleman's harmolodic theory, Arnold Schoenberg's dodecaphonics and Indian ragas into post bop structures might seem lofty and pretentious, but in Stewardson's hands these sources never overshadow his lyrically resonant written structures, instead augmenting them. By rearranging tone rows and dragging out melodic lines to unusual metric lengths, he uses advanced compositional techniques to create a subtly unconventional but accessible sound. Firmly rooted in post bop harmony and odd-metered rhythms, Stewardson and company add an inventive twist to an often staid genre.

As a soloist, Stewardson favors a bright, slightly overdriven, but undistorted electric guitar tone, with an economy in his phrasing that belies his virtuosity. Joining him on the front line is pervasive Downtown tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, who plays with surprising restraint. Capable of torrid frenzy and multiphonic hysteria, Malaby plays it cool, illuminating the written material at hand. At times he blends so seamlessly with Stewardson during unison passages that they sound like one instrument. Vibraphonist Alexi Tsiganov contributes shimmering comping and ebullient solos, enriching the entire session with his lilting phrasing. Ubiquitous bassist John Hebert and stalwart drummer George Schuller lock tight into the odd-metered grooves, playing with restraint and simmering energy.

Focusing on mid-tempo rhythms with epic-length melodic phrases, Stewardson's compositions lend themselves to extended development. Varying their attack with subtle coloration and vacillating dynamics, the musicians bring as much heart-felt dedication to introspective balladry as they do punchy verve to harmolodic funk.

On this promising effort, Stewardson demonstrates the kind of creative potential that so few seem capable of in mainstream jazz.

Track Listing: T Can Shuffle; Bubbles; Jhaptal; Combinatoriality; Rest Area; Olive Oil; Cruel Traps; Dig Muse; For Dale and Roberta.

Personnel: Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Alexei Tsiganov: vibraphone; Jamie Stewardson: guitar; John Hebert: bass; George Schuller: drums.

Title: Jhaptal | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Jhaptal

Jhaptal

Fresh Sound New Talent
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read The Turning Album Reviews
The Turning
By Bruce Lindsay
July 20, 2019
Read Reveries and Revelations Album Reviews
Reveries and Revelations
By John Eyles
July 20, 2019
Read Live/Shapeshifter Album Reviews
Live/Shapeshifter
By Don Phipps
July 20, 2019
Read Vol 3 Album Reviews
Vol 3
By Phillip Woolever
July 20, 2019
Read First Nature Album Reviews
First Nature
By Troy Dostert
July 19, 2019
Read Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings Album Reviews
Sacred Kind of Love: The Columbia Recordings
By Jakob Baekgaard
July 19, 2019
Read Perhaps Album Reviews
Perhaps
By Don Phipps
July 19, 2019