Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

92

Black Diamond: Mandala

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
This Chicago-based quartet projects a raw and vibrant soundstage, nicely balanced with breakneck speed unison lines and introspective dialogues, topped off by tenor saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond's hearty choruses. They dig deep, yet on burners like the swiftly executed bop piece "Rudy's Mood," they dish out briskly executed unison lines, leading to hyper-mode frameworks, shrewdly contrasted by a sense of openness. Hence, the band doesn't clutter things up with tireless soloing escapades. Basically, the saxophonists effectively pick their spots while letting the music breath.

"Jacunda" opens with cheery sax phrasings as the frontline frames the primary theme, surging into breezy and pungent overtures. Here, drummer Neil Hemphill's peppery and darting drum patterns and bassist Matt Ulery's malleable bass passages underscore the leaders' odd-time signatures and dynamic shifts in tempo, as the band morphs into several bars of sprightly improv. However, "Mandala" is a laid-back blues, tinted with drifting qualities.

The quartet launches "Clay Feet" with an animated motif, anchored by the saxophonists' sonorous extended notes. Yet Ulery quietly drives the momentum via his smooth and quietly thrusting support. Moving forward, the musicians alter the flow and punch out the main theme with forceful accents while reassembling the principle melody with a more pronounced Latin-jazz groove. They also segment or modulate the pace towards the coda. In sum, Artie Black's strong compositions and clever arrangements provide a strong foundation for the artists' engaging improvisational activities.

Track Listing: Jim Jam on the Veranda; The Middle Way; Rudy’s Mood; Eleanor & Rufus; Jacunda; Mandala; Village Within the City; Clay Feet; Little Melody.

Personnel: Artie Black: tenor saxophone; Hunter Diamond: tenor saxophone; Matt Ulery: bass; Neil Hemphill: drums.

Title: Mandala | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Mandala

Mandala

Shifting Paradigm Records
2017

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Correlations Album Reviews
Correlations
By Peter Hoetjes
March 19, 2019
Read Schizophrenia: The Yang Project Album Reviews
Schizophrenia: The Yang Project
By Roger Farbey
March 19, 2019
Read Zyklus 1 Album Reviews
Zyklus 1
By Mark Corroto
March 19, 2019
Read Apotheosis Album Reviews
Apotheosis
By Chris Mosey
March 19, 2019
Read Silverthorne Album Reviews
Silverthorne
By Glenn Astarita
March 19, 2019
Read Absinthe Album Reviews
Absinthe
By Mark Sullivan
March 18, 2019
Read Chi Album Reviews
Chi
By John Ephland
March 18, 2019