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When last heard from, Gregg August's debut, Late August (Iacuessa, 2005), left listeners with a smile for the bassist/composer's bipolar emphasis on Latin and hard bop interests.
One Peace indicates a new direction for August. While Late August took advantage of a number of high profile guest musicians including saxophonist Frank Wess and percussionists Ray Barretto and Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, One Peace presents August's working group, featuring only two holdoverstrumpeter John Bailey and altoist Myron Walden. For this occasion, two tenor sax menStacy Dillard and Yosvany Terryare added on selected tracks, with Ravi Coltrane's pianist and drummer Luis Perdomo and E.J.Strickland rounding out the core group. Bass clarinetist Mike Lowenstern is added for "Cascading."
August's Latin side is gone entirely. The album consists of ten original compositions that provide a lot of solo time for the horns. Most impressive is Bailey's trumpet work, which seems to adapt well to both ballads and boppers. His melody and solo on "One for Louis" could have been lifted off on any number of albums during Blue Note's "golden age." Walden picks up the soprano sax for the warm and soulful "Cascading." August, as might be expected, gets in a fair number of bass solos, and his interaction with Strickland give a rousing pulse to these tunes.
Track Listing: Handto Mouth; Nastissimo; One for Louis; Modal Tune; Contradiction; Sixth Finger; In Dedication; Change of Course; Crescent Mood; Cascading.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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