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Guitarist Ryan Blotnick is on a journey of exploration on this, his first CD. All of the compositions are his originals with one exceptiona ballad by alto saxophonist Pete Robbins. Blotnick is accompanied on this journey by Robbins as well as Albert Sanz (piano), Perry Wortman (bass) and Joe Smith (drums), a quintet that was assembled for a tour last year and is well-attuned to each other.
There is a chamber feel to this CD because of the tightly-knit ensemble playing and the nature of the music. Blotnick's compositions are short musical statementssimple lines using different time signaturesthat allow for each track to be mostly improvisation. Robbins' ballad "Barceloneta has more of a melody than the rest, but is also loosely structured so as to blend nicely with the rest of the material.
Each player has their very good moments. There is some well-done contrapuntal work between Blotnick and Wortman; Smith provides some tasty brushwork and Robbins' saxophone shines on several tracks. Blotnick is always present and evinces a smooth style of playing.
This CD is almost a "concept" piece in the sense that the tracks are very much alike in feeling and ensemble approach. It is almost an act of bravery for an artist to record all originals for a first CD. However, there is curiosity as to how Blotnick would have interpreted one or two standards as a contrast to his personal statements. But since he is only 24 years old, he has much more exploring to do.
Track Listing: Winter Melt; Thinning Air; Music Needs You; The Quiet Space Left Behind; Barceloneta; Liberty; You Can Talk During This; Wrong Turns; Tired House.
Personnel: Ryan Blotnick: guitar; Pete Robbins: alto saxophone; Albert Sanz: piano; Perry Wortman; bass; Joe Smith: drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.