2

Jonathan Finlayson: Moment and the Message

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Jonathan Finlayson: Moment and the Message The final scene from the 1998 cult classic movie, The Big Lebowski, has the cowboy narrator telling the audience: "Then, I happen to know that there's a little Lebowski on the way. I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself, down through the generations, westward the wagons, across the sands a time."

In jazz, musical knowledge also perpetuates itself through the generations, keeping its wagons rolling. Case in point: trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, who joined saxophonist Steve Coleman and his Five Element band at 18, releasing his debut as a leader at 31. His band, Sicilian Defense (named after a famous opening chess strategy), is also stacked with the next generation of torch bearers: guitarist Miles Okazaki, pianist David Virelles, bassist Keith Witty, and drummer Damion Reid.

The music begins not at M-BASE, but with one of its forefathers, Henry Threadgill. "Circus" opens the disc, revealing Finlayson's Threadgill-like penchant to set his players in motion using varying melodic lines, all of which are held together by Reid's punchy beat, and the trumpeter acting as musical shepherd. His precise sound, like that of saxophonist Steve Lehman (who often employs the trumpeter), derives from a classical musician's punctiliousness. Like Lehman, Finlayson can weave jazz out of an almost mathematical approach to songwriting. He draws out an unconventional tango on "Tensegrity," with Okazaki switching to acoustic guitar and the trumpeter applying his Five Elements language to Latin jazz.

Like his mentor Coleman, the trumpeter makes the odd-metered tune sound strangely familiar, speaking the Coleman language with his own accents. Such complexity is displayed in a composition like the momentum-building "Five And Pennies," featuring the trumpeter's adroit and sympathetic sound. He takes the mathematical complexity of chess and delivers it in a very human form of music.


Track Listing: Circus; Lo Haze; Ruy Lopez; Carthage; Tensegrity; Le Bas-Fond; Tyre; Fives and Pennies; Scaean Gates.

Personnel: Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Miles Okazaki: guitar; Damion Reid: drums; David Virelles: piano; Keith Witty: bass.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Pi Recordings


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Sunshine Seas" CD/LP/Track Review Sunshine Seas
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "#knowingishalfthebattle" CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Winds Of Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Winds Of Mouth
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!