379

Joe Smith: Melodic Workshop

By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Smith: Melodic Workshop Joe Smith's Melodic Workshop begins with a joyful piano-bass-drum fanfare that leads to a long-lined theme, motored by an almost martial drumbeat. "Shroo" is grand and generous in its scope. Jazz to be sure, but not the traditional kind. Free of more conventional metric considerations, the musicians make the most of the occasion to improvise thematically.

In contrast, "Rebel" has a more regular rhythm and, with closely voiced horns in the exposition spelling out its harmonies, a more easily recognized improvisatory roadmap. Gorka Benitez's flute and Bill McHenry's tenor spark the mood.

The Fender Rhodes piano lends a darkly inviting sheen to "Sasa Sings" that works well with the horns' opening drone-like notes. Chris Lightcap's undulating electric bass lines propel the saxophonists' sometimes jagged, sometimes flowing lines. Smith's energetic drumming leads back to the two tenors working in unison, sans accompaniment. "Gulp" opens with the feel of a noir film theme but soon moves into a free association that, while musically ingenious, never seems to cohere, at least emotionally.

Then, there is "Sassy," a fun, tuneful takeoff on soul-laced rock. This probably will not be heard in dance clubs, but a dance could be worked out to fit its jaunty, off-centered rhythms. "Y (No Tengo Dinero)" and "Long" offer some of the most focused playing on the session. Their sensuous melodies and settings bring out impassioned solos from all the players.

Beautifully voiced and recorded vocals by Coda are added on "Sad," another pensive theme, and a gorgeous one too. The only problem is that the programming of these three melodies, one after the other, ends the CD with a long, rather somber mood.

Touches of Carla Bley and even Jane Ira Bloom peek out from time to time. But Joe Smith has crafted a recording that is original. While it's probably not for the tastes of die-hard purists, others may want to take a listen.


Track Listing: Shroo; Rebel; Sasa Sings; Gulp; Sassy; Y (No Tengo Dinero); Long; Sad

Personnel: Bill McHenry, tenor sax; Gorka Benitez, tenor sax, flute; Guillermo Klein, piano, Fender Rhodes; Chris Lightcap, electric bass; Jorge Rossy, drums, Fender Rhodes; Joe Smith, drums; Coda, vocals (8)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Uh Oh!" CD/LP/Track Review Uh Oh!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!