Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Josh Nelson: Live At Bluewhale, Volume 1

10

Josh Nelson: Live At Bluewhale, Volume 1

By

Sign in to view read count
Josh Nelson: Live At Bluewhale, Volume 1
Pianist, composer and—maybe most importantly—conceptualist, Josh Nelson must be a big reader. For his album Exploring Mars (Origin Records, 2015) he drew from, in part, Ray Bradbury's fantastical science fiction story collage Martian Chronicles. And he took a deep look into science and science fiction (H.G. Wells, Jules Verne) for his Discoveries (Steel Bird Music, 2011).

Live At Bluewhale features recordings from Nelson's Discovery Project originally performed at the Bluewhale jazz club in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, backed by an adroit, rotating ten-piece band which includes a pair of violins, a cello, reeds, trumpet, guitar. and the leader's piano and eclectic keyboards. The sound is enriched and chamber-ish, intricate, spilling over with appealing and unusual harmonic washes.

The set opens with "Double Helix," a nod to the discovery of DNA, with a sound of multiple sonic spiral staircases swirling around each other in an enriched aural soup; while "Our Electromagnetic Hearts," a poignant ballad, explores the linking of our hearts and minds, and "Peter Sellers" comes from Nelson's admiration for the comedic actor who made the ridiculous and ridiculously funny Inspector Clouseau come to life in the Pink Panther films.

Nelson celebrates his subjects with sound. His conceptual arsenal—in separate songs here, rather than in a full album as he did in his Exploring Mars mode —can be compared to Brad Mehldau's Highway Rider (Nonesuch, 2010) or Bob Belden's Black Dahlia (Blue Note, 2001) in its beauty, originality and accessible cerebralism.

"Oumuamua" plays out as an eerie extraterrestrial symphony, written by Nelson— as are all the tunes here—for a mysterious space object which flew through our solar system in 2017, a la Arthur C. Clarke's Rama, from his 1973 novel Rendezvous With Rama. The closer, "Blue Whale Dives Deep" is a sentimental and melancholy tribute to the now closed Little Tokyo jazz club, Bluewhale, which inspired these compositions.

Track Listing

Double Helix; Our Electromagnetic Hearts; Peter Sellers; Oumuamua; Bluewhale Dives Deep.

Personnel

Jeff Parker
guitar
Larry Koonse
guitar, electric
Daniel Rotem
saxophone, tenor
Alex Boneham
bass, acoustic
Brian Walsh
clarinet

Album information

Title: Live At Bluewhale, Volume 1 | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Steel Bird Music


Comments

Tags

Concerts

Apr 20 Sat
Apr 28 Sun
Jul 6 Sat

For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Giveaway

Song of the Day

Toridanzón
From Omar Sosa's 88 Well-Tuned Drums
by Omar Sosa

Playlist

Premium

Suzanna Ross

vocals

Weekly newsletter

Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.

More

Ain't No Sunshine
Brother Jack McDuff
Taylor Made
Curtis Taylor
Fathom
John Butcher / Pat Thomas / Dominic Lash / Steve...

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.