212

Marc Mommaas: Landmarc

Thomas Conrad By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Mommaas: Landmarc It has been said that if you throw a quarter off the Empire State Building you are almost as likely to hit a tenor saxophonist as concrete. But in the Selmer-toting multitudes of Manhattan, Marc Mommaas has established a unique voice and vision. He was born into an artistic family in Amsterdam in 1969 and took a Masters degree in Business in the Netherlands. But he has lived in New York since 1997 and earned a second Masters from the Manhattan School of Music. Mommaas is an erudite, sophisticated academician. The good news is that he doesn't sound like it.

Consider his ensemble concept on Landmarc: his own understated, veering tenor; the intuitive guitar of Nate Radley; the drums of Tony Moreno, who plays everything but time. On five of nine cryptic Mommaas compositions, a second guitarist joins, either Vic Juris or Rez Abbasi. There is no bassist.

The title track has mixed meters and a melody that gets longer phrase by phrase. The pieces with two guitarists present layers of melody and counterpoint. But the primary sonic impression is sparseness and openness, not complexity. Mommaas' instrumental format is so conducive to creative expression that it is surprising more jazz musicians haven't tried it. Of course, not many trios (or two-guitar quartets) could function in such a stark landscape. Moreno rustles in the near distance, Radley threads mysterious chords or ticks like a Dali clock and Mommaas flows into one unexpected idea after another. For such a bold thinker, Mommaas has uncommon patience and discipline. He never seems to hurry, yet on the title track and "Cassavetes Caravan" and "ASAP," his momentum carries him into whirling dances. But the best pieces are the hypnotic slow burns and the liberated lullabies. The rubato "Folksong" (inspired by Keith Jarrett's "My Song") and "Little One" (for Mommaas' daughter), are delicate yet fervent.

Landmarc is a breakout recording for Mommaas and also for Nate Radley. There are guitarists who live on the edge and guitarists who play pretty. Few, like Radley, do both. His solos here are intriguing elaborations of the ideas that Mommaas has put in place and his accompaniment suggests rich new ideas for Mommaas to pursue.


Track Listing: Landmarc; Folksong; Brush on Canvas; Legend; Little One; Orbit; Patience; Cassavetes Caravan; ASAP.

Personnel: Mark Mommaas: tenor saxophone; Nate Radley: guitar; Tony Moreno: drums; Vic Juris: guitar (2, 6, 9); Rez Abbasi: guitar (4), sitar (8).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974" CD/LP/Track Review Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Ready Take One" CD/LP/Track Review Ready Take One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Dark Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Blue
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "Parachute" CD/LP/Track Review Parachute
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!