Ben Rosenblum uses a lot of different instrumental elements on this release. For starters, he himself plays both piano and accordion, and his sextet also features trumpet, reeds and guitar. In addition, vibraphone and trombone show up on some tracks. That creates a blend of various textures and sounds which bring variety to this program of bright jazz compositions.
Rosenblum's accordion flows together nicely with the sounds of Wayne Tucker's trumpet, and Jasper Dutz's bass clarinet on the breezily up-tempo "Laughing on the Inside." Rafael Rosa's guitar maintains a springy chord accompaniment here before going wild with a solo full of fat rock licks. The group's close-knit, gliding sound continues through the lyrical waltz "Halfway to Wonderland," with Rosenblum on piano, and the exuberant "Cedar Place" where he plays both instruments, saving his soloing for the accordion. On "Fight Or Flight" Rosenblum's accordion goes jaggedly up and down while the other players swirl over him. "Izpoved" is a traditional Bulgarian melody which the sextet plays with a somber beauty, and the title track is a bit of mellow quasi-exotica with Jake Chapman's ringing vibes bringing in a tropical element which complements Rosenblum's tango riffs and the horns' serene melody.
A few selections in this set come from outside sources . On Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" Rosenblum romantically plays the melody on accordion alongside guest pianist Jeremy Corren while the rest of the band provides the music with an underlying rhythmic kick. Corren also shines on Rosenblum's gentle adaption of a Brahms theme. Neil Young's "Philadelphia" gets a stately treatment with Sam Chess's trombone eloquently leading the way for Dutz's tenor and Rosenblum's piano. Rosa adds a shaft of electric guitar that bears some of Neil Young's own rich, sustained tones. Chess and Chapman both augment the ensemble's warm, enveloping sound on Rosenblum's original, "Bright Above Us," a tune with a noble gentility which turns much heavier when Rosa's sweeping electric guitar hammers in.
With his Nebula Project Ben Rosenblum has put together a combination of seemingly incongruous instrumental voices that sounds very fluid and cohesive. The group can romp on straight jazz tunes but is also capable of expressive sounds with a rich and melancholy air. This band has a unique sound that is worth hearing.
Cedar Place; Kites and Strings; Halfway to Wonderland; Fight or Flight; Somewhere;
Philadelphia; Bright Above Us; Laughing on the Inside; Izpoved.
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