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Jason Lindner: Live/UK

Tom Greenland By

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Jason Lindner: Live/UK Jazz people like to catch a buzz. Used to be you could grab a quick six-pack and duck into Smalls, a Greenwich Village venue run by Mitch Borden that literally hummed with world class talent-deserving-of-wider-recognition. Amidst this beehive of activity, Jason Lindner was always a contender, and New Yorkers in-the-know knew it was only a matter of time before others caught on. The pianist's latest release, Live/UK, gives out-of-towners a chance to hear what the local buzz is all about.

A veteran of almost ten years of Monday nights at Smalls, playing three sets that would often stretch into the wee hours—later moving to the Thursday night slot at Fat Cat—Lindner has had plenty of opportunity to hone his bandstand chops. Along the way, he's formed lasting musical friendships with bassist Omer Avital and saxophonist Jimmy Greene, both featured on Premonition (Concord, 2000), his previous release.

Live/UK, a pared down London "blowing date with Marion Browder on drums, reveals the creative cohesion made possible by all of this shared experience—tight as a heat-dried drum head, the quartet negotiates complex time signatures and phrase structures with a seamless fluidity that makes it sound easy, stretching out on lengthy jams without losing the listener. The date has a strong Latin flavor, peppered with punchy montunos and unusual rolling accent patterns that prolong the rhythmic excitement. Lindner's comping is sterling; now prompting, now reacting, he engages his compadres with active yet sympathetic counterpoint and his muted string intro on "Suheir is a funky tour de force.

The soloing is strong throughout: Greene plays percolating flute on "The Five Elements & the Natural Trinity and a shredful tenor on "Seven Ways, while Avital lays down some spunkified soul jazz on "Take It To Church. Lindner's solo on "Meditation on Two Chords starts with a slow left hand, continues ambidextrously in doubled octaves, climaxes with high-register tremolos and Tyner-ish filigree, finally winding down to some sparse bluesy phrasing. Browder, meantime, manages to keep it all in the pocket, never missing an accent.

Lindner's an up-and-comer. Catch him before the big clubs get him—the latest buzz in bee-bop.


Track Listing: Intro: Lever Du Soleil; The Five Elements & the Natural Trinity, Part I; Meditation on Two Chords; Suheir; Seven Ways; Information Kiss; Take It To Church

Personnel: Jason Lindner: piano; Jimmy Greene: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Omer Avital: bass; Marion Browder: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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