261

Jaleel Shaw: Optimism

By

Sign in to view read count
Jaleel Shaw: Optimism
Jaleel Shaw has been a member of the Roy Haynes Quartet since 2005 and his playing reflects the kind of smart professionalism and driving energy that has always been evident in the drummer's work. Shaw recorded his first disc in 2004 and he's back with an album that suggests growth and mature diversity. He's fortunate enough to have an old colleague, pianist Robert Glasper, as well as a handful of bright lights in the modern jazz arena.

Shaw is not your cookie-cutter post bopper—he sounds like no one, really, but himself—and he writes tunes that show his compositional approach is also independent. The vocabulary of the tradition is familiar and yet this doesn't sound like a rehash of a hundred other albums. The use of the Fender Rhodes on several tracks suggests the popular vernacular but the music on those tracks tells us that 'popular' is not necessarily bad.

Particularly engaging, for example, is the waltz, "In 3." Here it's alto, guitar, bass and drums and the sound is quietly impressionistic with Lage Lund adding especially lovely colors on guitar. It's a song about texture and emotion and the restraint of the players is particularly engaging.

The title track is a pulsing, driving number that somehow also evokes intelligent contemplation. The impressive thing about Shaw's playing is that it never seems to knock a listener out with volume or power. So this tune pulls us along but not forcefully in any artificial way. And Glasper is especially sensitive on the electric keyboard as if fully understanding the feeling that the composer was seeking.

Shaw the bandleader is sensitive enough to choose a little recorded tune, "If I'm Lucky," that originally appeared on a Johnny Hartman album. It shows Shaw's gorgeous and intimate way with a ballad. Glasper chooses the Fender Rhodes again and the performance stays simple, quiet and lovely.

Optimism is a jazz album whose mood, even in up-tempos, suggests thoughtful understanding and a personal way to make a recording. And even when there are effects they work towards telling a story.

Track Listing

Flipside; Almost; In 3; Optimism; If I'm Lucky; Flight; Love for Sale; Muna's Sleeping; Muna's Dream; The Struggle; Optilude.

Personnel

Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone; Lage Lund: guitar; Robert Glasper: keyboards; Joe Martin: bass; Johnnathan Blake: drums; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet.

Album information

Title: Optimism | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Changu Records

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read Giulia
Giulia
Francesco Cataldo
Read Rhythm Abstraction: Ruby
Rhythm Abstraction: Ruby
Frank Macchia / Brock Avery
Read Hypnosis
Hypnosis
Pauli Lyytinen Magnetia Orkesteri

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.