All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
"Little melodies come to me when I'm walking." So says drummer/percussionist/composer Sheryl Mebane, the leader of the San Francisco bay area-based Tangria Jazz Group. And that's probably as good a description of the mystery of the creative process as you'll hear.
Mebane's vision, on Mebane's Eleven, focuses in on some of those unfailingly engaging melodies. The band is a piano trio, with a lot of sparklepianist Simon Rochester brightens the sound up with a good dose of Fender Rhodes along with the acoustic keys. Justin Hellman adds a solid heartbeat on bass; and Mebane rolls through various percussion modes on drums, jembe and vibes.
Those melodies that come to Mebane have a straighforward, energetic quality, a Bill Evans delicacy and prettiness; and the two covers slipped in with Mebane's seven originals, Miles Davis' "Solar" and Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," featured on Davis' Miles Smiles (Columbia, 1966), gives you an idea of the influences.
The disc opens with "Teach Yourself to Live Elsewhere," a tune with a wistful, Bill Evans feeling, a melancholy sound with an insistent rhythmic drive and some creative comping from pianist Rochester behind Hellman's bass solo. "Money Time" slips deeply inward on an extended piano intro that blossoms in the direction of extroversion when Mebane and Hellman come in.
"Warm" features Mebane on jembe, on a tune with a sultry, dark mood; "Ethan's Song" brings in electric violinist Belinda Catalona, adding a folk music quality to a very modern sound.
The last two tunes on the disc are guest artist revisitations of "Money Time" and "Warm," featuring Jason Bringetto on guitar, violinist Catalona again with her mandolin on "Money Time," along with Giotto Harrison on copper pipes and Alex Pasternak on bass for a closing of the show with more of a world music feeling.
Mebane's Eleven offers up a refreshing take on the piano trio format, with the ending guest spot opening the focus up further.
Track Listing: Teach Yourself to Live Elsewhere; Money Time; Warm; Ethan's Song; Solar; Freedom Jazz Dance; Reactions;
Gemini; Breathe Easy; Money Time (with guests); Warm (with guests).
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...