All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

2

Jonathan Finlayson: Moment and the Message

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Moment And The Message | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
3 Times Round

3 Times Round

Pi Recordings
2018

buy
Moving Still

Moving Still

Pi Recordings
2017

buy
Moving Still

Moving Still

Pi Recordings
2016

buy
Still Moving

Still Moving

Pi Recordings
2016

buy
Moment And The Message

Moment And The Message

Pi Recordings
2013

buy
Moment & The Message

Moment & The Message

Pi Recordings
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Fukushima" CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "BooCheeMish" CD/LP/Track Review BooCheeMish
by Chris May
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "Duke Ellington In Coventry" CD/LP/Track Review Duke Ellington In Coventry
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 8, 2018
Read "Melodious Drum" CD/LP/Track Review Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by David Rocheleau-Houle
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "New Standards" CD/LP/Track Review New Standards
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 17, 2018