All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

461

Josh Nelson: Let It Go

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
A man is standing in the middle of the city while the traffic passes by. Eyes half closed. Tie blowing in the air. Later there's a change of scene. The man is now inside an apartment and he is standing in front of a window. Eyes totally closed.



The man is the young jazz pianist and composer Josh Nelson and the scenes described are the cover photographs for his debut, Let It Go.



Nowadays, music is all around us. Actually, it's everywhere. Even if we wanted to, we couldn't avoid it, and let's face it, sometimes music becomes noise. Background noise. But then there's the music that soothes the soul and eases the mind into contemplation. Music that somehow has the ability to draw a beautiful line around silence allowing the listener to forget the noise from all around. That's the kind of music Josh Nelson makes.



The program on Let It Go is varied, going from introspective ballads to electrified modern grooves, attempts at neo-standards and revisions of classic pop tunes, but overall the mood of the album is lyrical.



Nelson has an impressive cast of players to fulfill his vision. Drummer Matt Wilson is able to shift from subtle, almost invisible timekeeping, to a full-fledged arsenal of sounds. The way Wilson comments on Nelson's play on "Loose End" is awe-inspiring. Another highlight throughout the album is the playing of saxophonist Seamus Blake. For some reason, Blake tends to do his best performances as a sideman, and here he is in absolutely top form, literally blowing his soul out on the tender mid-tempo balled "Introspection on 401.



As a composer Nelson tends to merge the approach of structured pop tunes and open improvisations. He sounds equally inspired by Radiohead and Bill Evans, and it's almost inevitable to mention Brad Mehldau, who also favors the sound of the new; but Nelson has more going for him than being a mere imitator of old or recent names. He combines a singular lyricism and fluid touch with original writing and challenging arranging.



He's equally at home writing new standards like the tune "Leaving Here, featuring the gorgeous singer Sara Gazarek, as he is reinventing underrated old pop gems like the Beach Boys' "Tears in the Morning. Nelson's reading of that tune is every bit as masterful as some of the Beach Boys interpretations done by David Kikoski and, as always, the supporting cast of bassist Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz, Wilson and Blake follows him every step of the way.



Nominally a debut record like this would be praised with words like "promising, "talented, "an interesting voice to follow in the future" and so on, but it doesn't seem to fit the bill in this case. Josh Nelson is already there, letting it all go. This is not only an outstanding debut, it's one of the best releases of the year.


Track Listing: Loose End; Introspection on 401; Love Letters; Leaving Here; Tears in the Morning; Abandon Post; Colors; Julia; Deep Breaths; Let it Go.

Personnel: Josh Nelson: acoustic piano, Rhodes, Hammond C3 organ, glockenspiel; Seamus Blake: tenor saxophone; Anthony Wilson: acoustic and electric guitars; Darek "Oles" Oleskiewicz: acoustic bass; Matt Wilson: drums, percussion.

Title: Let It Go | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Native Language

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Bridges and Tunnels

Bridges and Tunnels

Josh Nelson
The Sky Remains

Bhutto Song

Bhutto Song

Josh Nelson
I Hear a Rhapsody

Dirigibles

Dirigibles

Josh Nelson
Discoveries

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Sky Remains

The Sky Remains

Origin Records
2017

buy
Exploring Mars

Exploring Mars

Origin Records
2015

buy
Discoveries

Discoveries

Steel Bird Music
2011

buy
I Hear a Rhapsody

I Hear a Rhapsody

Steel Bird Music
2009

buy
Let It Go

Let It Go

Native Language
2007

buy
Anticipation

Anticipation

Steel Bird Music
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "The Nobuki Takamen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "My Favorite Things (1960-1969)" CD/LP/Track Review My Favorite Things (1960-1969)
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 31, 2018
Read "We Out Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "Cosmic Language" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Playmates" CD/LP/Track Review Playmates
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 14, 2018