All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

296

Thomson Kneeland: Mazurka For A Modern Man

Bruce Lindsay By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Thomson Kneeland: Mazurka For A Modern Man Bassist Thomson Kneeland leads an impressive array of musicians on Mazurka For A Modern Man. It's a strong collection of tunes, characterised by Kneeland's lively bass rhythms and by the gorgeous melodies that emanate from David Smith's trumpet and Nate Radley's guitar.

Kneeland's liner notes make it clear that this album is dedicated to his band mate and friend, the drummer Take Toriyama, who took his own life barely 2 weeks after recording was completed in 2007. Toriyama's suicide clearly devastated Kneeland, who writes that the drummer was "not at his best" during recording. However, the bassist decided that Toriyama's work should be heard and it was a wise decision. If this was a man not at his best, then Toriyama's best must have been something to hear. Certainly there are times when his drumming lacks a certain verve, but in the main the percussion here is impressive and vibrant—"Dithyramb" offers a particularly strong example.

Smith and Radley give the album a real sense of humanity—both players produce some exceedingly joyous and welcoming sounds with their duet on "Nebuchadnezzar" and their solos on "Rhapsody" being especially effective. On four tracks they are joined in the front line by alto player Loren Stillman, who adds his own warm and welcoming tone to tunes such as the powerful "Libretto." Kneeland leads a completely different line-up on "Moja Tesknota," a traditional Polish tune. The title means "My Longing" and the tune reflects this sentiment with the trumpet of Jerry Sabatini and the strings of Eric Bindman creating an affecting sense of loss.

Although the sad death of Toriyama casts its shadow over this album, there is an overwhelmingly positive feel to this recording that has much to do with the humanity of the playing. On his website Kneeland declares his love for vinyl. The considered and beautiful packaging and the warmth of the music on Mazurka For A Common Man make it a prime candidate for a vinyl release—and hopefully Kneeland, Smith, Radley and Stillman have much more music to come.


Track Listing: Ashlayah; Hyperion; Mazurka For a Modern Man; Dithyramb; Moja Tesknota (for Deborah Zelazny); Libretto; Nebuchadnezzar; Rhapsody (for Take Toriyama); Crus Bifurcatus.

Personnel: Thomson Kneeland: acoustic bass; Take Toriyama: drums, percussion; Nate Radley: guitar; David Smith: trumpet; Loren Stillman: alto sax (1, 4, 6, 9); Jerry Sabatini: trumpet (5); Evan Harlan: accordion (5); Eric Bindman: violin, viola (5); Mike Connors: drums (5).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Weltschmerz Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Mazurka for the Modern Man
Mazurka for the...
Weltschmerz Records
2010
buy
Mazurka For A Modern Man
Mazurka For A Modern...
Weltschmerz Records
2010
buy
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Zakir Hussain Zakir Hussain
percussion
John Surman John Surman
saxophone
Ravi Coltrane Ravi Coltrane
sax, tenor
Jacam Manricks
saxophone

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.