6

Julian Shore: Filaments

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Julian Shore: Julian Shore: Filaments There is nothing wrong with mellow jazz. As long as distance can be maintained from the hackneyed, dialed-in feel of smooth jazz, it can be a refreshing change of pace from the intensity and analytical focus of a lot of modern art music, jazz or otherwise. Listening to pianist Julian Shore's Filaments, there's the sense that he set out to craft music easy on the ears without compromising any of his personal artistic values. The opening "Grey Light, Green Lily" sets the tone for the entire album, its gently chiming, misty piano harmonies, wordless vocals and Kurt Rosenwinkel's yearning guitar solo combine to form a moody, atmospheric sound reminiscent of mid-1980s Pat Metheny Group. Other reference points would be Brian Blade's Fellowship Band and Jeremy Udden's Plainville—bucolic, easygoing jazz that makes no bones about its pop and folk influences.

Vocals figure prominently throughout Filaments. Several tunes feature the voices in the front line singing, horn-like and wordlessly, a strategy that works extremely well for Shore's lilting, carefree melodies. The up-tempo waltz, "Big Bad World," benefits hugely from this approach, and the ensuing dialogue between Shore and Rosenwinkel is one of the album's highlights. "Made Very Small," "Whisper" and "Misdirection / Determined" have lyrics sung by their author, Alexa Barchini, the words perfectly capturing the moody, vaguely emotional aspect of the music. Barchini sings them in a pop- jazz style not dissimilar to that of Norah Jones or Sia Furler. Her voice is close-miked, soft and intimate, and conveys the feeling that she's sharing a secret that is just beyond one's grasp. "Whisper (reprise)" subs a slinky swaying dobro for the femme vocals— a whimsical touch.

Filaments features playing that is both subtle and strong. Drummer Tommy Chase has an easy-flowing yet hard-driving feel, and his awareness of subtle shading and coloration really make Shore's pieces come alive. Shore's piano playing—most prominent on the trio track "I Will If You Will"—is understated yet commanding; eloquent, in a style similar to pianist Bill Evans or, perhaps, Brad Mehldau.

The guest soloists add a lot. Rosenwinkel is utterly distinctive and yet he demonstrates a deep musical kinship with Shore and his music. Saxophonist Noah Preminger digs deeply into "Venus," a ballad that, at times, sounds like a duet with Crane's pattering cymbals and toms. Shore switches to the Rhodes for the up-tempo "Like A Shadow," which benefits from Crane's more aggressive drumming and a bluesy solo from guitarist Jeff Miles. "Give" is a bright, punchy and driving piece that expands the group's sound further to include a brass section. One minor quibble; several of Shore's tunes make use of similar chord progressions and melodic lines, which leads to a sort of aural deja vu.

Filaments is an unusually mature statement from a young pianist who makes full use of a wide-open musical palette. Not the sort of recording that blows its audience away, instead, Filaments quietly seduces, drawing its audience closer.


Track Listing: Grey Light, Green Lily; Made Very Small; Big Bad World; Whisper; Give; I Will If You Will; Misdirection / Determined; Like a Shadow; Venus; Whisper (reprise).

Personnel: Julian Shore: piano, Rhodes (8); Phil Donkin: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Alexa Barchini: vocals (2-5, 7-8); Shelly Tzarafi: vocals (1, 3-5, 8); Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar (1, 2, 5); Jeff Miles: guitar (3, 4, 8); Kurt Ozan: acoustic guitar, dobro (4, 10); Noah Preminger: tenor saxophone (9); Godwin Louis: alto saxophone (5); Billy Buss: trumpet (5); Andrew Hadro: baritone saxophone (5).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Tone Rogue Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix) Extended Analysis Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)
by John Kelman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome Extended Analysis The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 27, 2016
Read Nat Birchall: Creation Extended Analysis Nat Birchall: Creation
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Seth Walker: Gotta Get Back" Extended Analysis Seth Walker: Gotta Get Back
by Doug Collette
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Neil Young & The Promise of The Real: Earth" Extended Analysis Neil Young & The Promise of The Real: Earth
by Doug Collette
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Dick's Pick's Volume One: Tampa, Florida 12/19/73" Extended Analysis Dick's Pick's Volume One: Tampa, Florida 12/19/73
by Doug Collette
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Thomas Stronen: Time Is A Blind Guide" Extended Analysis Thomas Stronen: Time Is A Blind Guide
by John Kelman
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "The Traveling Wilburys Collection" Extended Analysis The Traveling Wilburys Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Jack Bruce: Things We Like" Extended Analysis Jack Bruce: Things We Like
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: September 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!