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You have to love drummer-led recordings. Is it because the producer mixes the leader a bit louder, or maybe you just concentrate more on the beat? Maybe both. Sessions led by Billy Higgins, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, or today’s stars like Jim Black, Matt Wilson and Joey Baron cause you to focus on subtleties and the sounds made with sticks.
Try as he does to direct your attention away from himself throughout Made In Brooklyn, Ethan Winogrand fails. His eight compositions recorded here feature splendid soloing by his partners, yet the eye (or ear) is always on the leader.
Winogrand employs saxophonist Donny McCaslin (Lan Xang, Luciana Souza) and bassist Eric Mingus (Elliott Sharp’s Terraplane, Karen Mantler), and producer turned guitarist, pianist, saxophonist and bassist (!) Ross Bonadonna. The quartet turn Winogrand’s compositions into an engrossing 51 minutes of post-bop-meets-alternative-rock.
Winogrand, McCaslin, and Mingus worked together on Eric Mingus’ recording Um...Er...Ah (Some Records, 2000). This session draws from the folk aspects of jazz and the groove side of rock. Producer Bonadonna mostly sticks to guitar, playing a mix of early Bill Frisell meets Grant Green at the Filmore. On “Pepper And Things,” Winogrand applies the pulse while McCaslin and Bonadonna play a cascading array of notes, shifting from the boom-boom of rock to a country feel and taking everything around the block. McCaslin is a slick saxophonist with all the young lion chops but with a taste for music of his time.
Winogrand has a preference for the blues as a bridge between jazz and rock. These songs lean heavily on traditional blues sounds throughout. Eric Mingus’ bass leaves no doubt he is steeped in the tradition. He plays an acoustic sounding electric upright bass here that supplies a large sound. Don’t ask me to compare it to papa Charles, please, because this is music of the new millennium with an audience generated by MTV, not Symphony Sid.
Engagingly cool, this will appeal to fans of Sex Mob, Zony Mash, Marc Ribot, and Medeski Martin, & Wood. But followers of a more traditional post-bop jazz will find much to enjoy here.
Track Listing: Projectionisum; Pepper And Things; Skip To My Blues; Down Easy Under; Which Congo Way;
Seven Seas; Slomo; Sloppy Joe.
Personnel: Ross Bonadonna - guitar, Bass, Baritone Saxophone, Piano, Sounds; Donny McCaslin - Tenor
Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone; Eric Mingus - Electric Upright Bass; Ethan Winogrand - Drums,