Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

11

Jonathan Rowden: Jonathan Rowden Group: Becoming

Paul Naser By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Jonathan Rowden began playing as a young boy, but alongside his enthusiasm for music he nurtured a love for visual arts; in fact, he planned on being an animation and illustration major before he realized that music was his real passion.

This artistic sensibility permeates Rowden's debut album and showcases his compositional strengths while also providing a beautiful backdrop for the remarkable playing of all the talented young musicians that are featured in his band. Supporting Rowden are pianist Ryan Pryor, bassist Chris Hon and drummer James Yoshizawa.

Reflecting Rowden's wide breadth of influences, the album is moody and features a lot of textural playing contrasted with driving rhythms. The use of space and the sonic shaping on the album's opening number, "Becoming," are remarkable and reminiscent of modern, forward thinking pop and rock artists like Radiohead while the harmony and interplay suggest a classical influence.

The explorations of timbre and swelling and fading tension that constitute this track satisfyingly resolve into the energetic "Snowing in Paradise." This tune, which evolves through several sections, is suggestive of contemporary jazz along the lines of Chris Potter, who had a large influence on Rowden, and features him with a compelling solo.

Another textural intro, this time by drums alone, sets up the three part piece, "The Long Road Home." The beautiful melody to part I of the tune, played by Rowden, is accompanied expertly by the band who provide evocative shape and shading and set the tone for the other two sections. Each section explores a different take on the theme and provides inimitable drummer Yoshizawa the opportunity to exhibit his training in classical percussion. In both his adept accompaniment and, in part III, a remarkable solo, his constantly engaging performance is a highlight of the piece.

Following the introspective atmosphere of "The Long Road Home," the heavy, powerfully rhythmic playing on "27-1" captures the attention right from the start. This piece is often dissonant and intense, providing a vehicle for the band to explore a more raw kind of improvisation and interplay. Following is the equally rhythmic yet less dissonant "Autonation," which features pianist Pryor with an outstanding solo. Closing the record is a reprise of "Snowing in Paradise," completing the journey that this album brought the listener on.

One of the most effective things about the album is the way that each tune evolves into the next, with the end of one track often literally being the beginning of the next one. This connectedness gives the album the feel of being one composition and is again suggestive of Rowden's compositional style and influences, likely coming from his interest in classical music. Be on the lookout for this up and coming group, who are finishing up their first West Coast tour and will undoubtedly be looking forward to more new and exciting things in the near future.

Track Listing: Becoming; Snowing in Paradise; Entrance; The Long Road Home Part I; The Long Road Home Part II; The Long Road Home Part III; 27-1; Autonation; Snowing in Paradise Reprise

Personnel: Jonathan Rowden: tenor saxophone; Ryan Pryor: piano and keyboards; Chris Hon: bass; James Yoshizawa: drums and percussion

Title: Jonathan Rowden Group: Becoming | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Orenda Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Horizontal Dialogues" CD/LP/Track Review Horizontal Dialogues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Graviton" CD/LP/Track Review Graviton
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!