114

Upright: Opinion

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Upright: Opinion After a seven year hiatus, bassist Eric Martin has reconvened the Montreal progressive jazz outfit Upright and released Opinion , an album that owes more to the European progressive community than it does to more traditional American influences. The result is a recording that, with its electric approach, skirts the edges of fusion but, with less reliance on overt displays of technical prowess and a greater concern for compositional development, manages to avoid its more excessive trappings.

While the influence of UZEB is evident in some of the writing, the most direct link is to the Canterbury sound of groups including Phil Miller's In Cahoots and National Health. The title track, in fact, sounds like it would fit comfortably in the Miller songbook with guitarist Annam Nguyen, keyboardist Marc-Étienne Savage and saxophonist Bernard Barribeau showing their reverence for Miller, Pete Lemer (by way of Dave Stewart) and Elton Dean respectively. Nguyen, in particular, mirrors the oblique linear development that Miller has honed over the years.

The other apparent influence is that of bassist Hugh Hopper’s Franglo-Saxon band, but Martin is a defter player than Hopper, with a more nimble approach that shows the influence of another Miller cohort, Fred Baker, especially on fretless bass.

But with all the comparisons being drawn, Upright has managed to create a sound that, while its roots are evident, distinguishes itself with a more inherent sense of groove. Martin and drummer Jèrôme Chamberland are a strong rhythm team; intricate without being busy, they clearly drive tunes like “Maverick,” providing the perfect backdrop for fine solos from Nguyen and Savage. And, while swing has very little to do with most of the album, it is clear that Martin and Chamberland can swing when they want to, as they do on “Progression.”

Martin’s writing clearly exhibits some of the trademarks of the Canterbury Scene—the use of certain chord changes, harmonies and rhythmic devices that completely separate it from more American influences; and a spirit that crosses musical boundaries and eschews labels. This music is fusion in the truest sense of the word, in that it fuses a cosmopolitan diversity of influences. But unlike Fusion with a capital “F,” there is a stronger inherent sense of musicality, both compositionally and in the way the performers solo.

Intelligent, moving and engaging, Opinion will appeal to jazz fans who believe that jazz is not strictly an American music, but truly a world music, one that incorporates influences from a multitude of sources. Martin is an accomplished composer, a fine bassist and he has surrounded himself with a strong group of players; here’s hoping another seven years don’t have to go by before Upright releases another record.

Visit Unicorn Records on the web.


Track Listing: Nouveau D

Personnel: Annam Nguyen (guitar), Marc-

Title: Opinion | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Unicorn Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Expanding Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Expanding Heart
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Counteraction" CD/LP/Track Review Counteraction
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis" CD/LP/Track Review Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Antidote" CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!