The vibraphone is not often a lead instrument, but Ben Adams brings it up front on this quintet outing featuring an erudite set of tunes that he wrote. The music breathes through several harmonic patterns, which makes it interesting all the way. The musicians contribute to make the experience all the more absorbing, maintaining focus and employing an impeccable sense of time and swing.
Adams chooses to open with "Avery's Bedtime Song, a lovely tune that floats gently on the flugelhorn of Erik Jakobsen, the nuances creating an elliptical path with their changes in emphasis. Mitch Marcus' tenor gives the melody a deeper hue, and with Adams' coming, the atmosphere becomes more relaxed. The band swipes into the upbeat with the sprightly bop of "Conversation with Martin. Sameer Gupta sets a pliant pulse on the drums before Marcus comes up with a big, brawny tone. Adams is lithe, indulging in the melody even as he pushes the structure and completes the lure.
The strongest quintet collaboration comes on "Pocket Fiction, which skips in happily, the buoyancy kick-started by the horns. Gupta's drumming is crisp, his accents changing on the cusp of the tempo. Adams swings lightly, his path lit by the language he evokes from the vibraphone. The beat and the mood take an angular turn on the dark lines brought in by Marcus. Finally, Jekabson gets into bop mode and brings the tune full circle, the weave now complete and quite splendid.
Track Listing: Avery
Personnel: Ben Adams: vibraphone; Erik Jekabson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Fred Randolph: acoustic bass;
Mitch Marcus: tenor saxophone; Sameer Gupta: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.