477

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This
Arriving in Chicago from Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2000, multi-instrumentalist Keefe Jackson has been steadily making waves in the Windy City's vibrant jazz community. His recent offering, the swinging and adventurous Just Like This, showcases Jackson's historically aware writing as well as the astute abilities of his collaborators.

Ready Everyday (Delmark, 2006) was the adventurous post-bop premiere of Jackson's sextet, Fast Citizens. Just Like This is the debut of his large ensemble, Project Project. Comprising a dozen of Chicago's finest improvisers, it balances the formidable sonic intensity of a mini-big band with the sensitivity of a chamber jazz group.

Although he contributes burly, infectious tenor solos on the swinging title track and "Wind-Up Toy," this session primarily focuses on Jackson's abilities as a writer and arranger. With a bevy of impressive contributions from numerous soloists, Jackson's band members play with fiery passion, navigating shifting meters, contrapuntal structures and assorted textures.

Alternating Ellington-esque harmonies and rich ensemble charts with brisk patches of ardent improvisation from a throng of brass and woodwinds, "Dragon Fly" invokes the warm nostalgia of the past without ignoring the future.

Sharing a similarly conventional theme-and-solos construction, the title track "Just Like This and "Wind-Up Toy" swing with infectious ebullience. Rich counterpoint and subtle ensemble harmonies during unison passages give way to blistering solo sections of fervent intensity and brisk pacing.

Episodically laced with stop-start dynamics and numerous solo cadenzas, "The Grass Is Greener," "Titled" and "Which Well" pitch between sonic extremes. Using cellular structures to guide free improvisation—dark, tumultuous collective passages yield unconventional instrumental pairings. "The Grass Is Greener" features a garrulous tuba and trombone conversation, while "Which Well" veers suddenly from Dave Rempis' blistering alto sax duel with drummer Frank Rosaly, to the circuitous interweaving clarinets of James Falzone and Guillermo Gregorio, without warning.

Blending the sumptuous multi-horn voicings of Ellington and Strayhorn with the modernist angularity of such free jazz mavericks as Muhal Richard Abrams and Sam Rivers, Just Like This embodies the best elements of the jazz continuum, another welcome addition to the varied and brilliant Chicago jazz scene.

Track Listing

Dragon Fly; Grass Is Greener; Titled; Just Like This; Which Well; Wind-Up Toy.

Personnel

Keefe Jackson: tenor sax, bass clarinet, composer; Josh Berman: cornet; Jaimie Branch: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Nick Broste: trombone; Marc Unternahrer: tuba; James Falzone: clarinet; Guillermo Gregorio: alto sax, clarinet; Dave Rempis: alto and baritone sax; Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Anton Hatwich: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.

Album information

Title: Just Like This | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Love Letter
Love Letter
Jimmy Heath
Read No Base Trio
No Base Trio
Jonathan Suazo / Gabriel Vicens / Leonardo Osuna
Read A Tribute to Alvin Fielder - Live at Vision Festival XXIV
A Tribute to Alvin Fielder - Live at Vision Festival XXIV
Edward 'Kidd' Jordan, Joel Futterman, William Parker, Hamid Drake

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.