13

Jeff Baumeister: Pretty Melodies, for people who dig that sort of thing

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Jeff Baumeister: Pretty Melodies, for people who dig that sort of thing Pianist Jeff Baumeister can't be accused of being enigmatic with an album title or rushing into a recording. It took him eight years to create this frankly titled follow-up to his debut—Useful Music (Wahbo Records, 2005).

Baumeister's first album received some favorable reviews, but the pianist wasn't looking to tread on the same ground with his sophomore date. In fact, he went in a completely different direction, making a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn with constructive methodology and working with a completely different band. Baumeister, in another example of his forthright deportment, notes that "Useful Music was basically craft then inspiration, while Pretty Melodies was inspiration then craft." In other words, Baumeister didn't try to force a writing situation or turn composition into an overly calculated process this time around; he just waited for the melodies to make themselves apparent, which they did in due course.

None of the eight tracks on Pretty Melodies, for people who dig that sort of thing paint Baumeister as a unidirectional composer. Sometimes he works with melodic grains, yielding something wondrous from a simple source ("From Here"), and other times he's more calculating in the way he susses out his sounds. Buoyant waltzes, understated soul ("Folk Tune"), deep grooves ("Everything Is Nothing"), and peaceful passages ("Leaving") all provoke different reactions from the ear and point to the fact that Baumeister has a lot of different sides to his personality. His band mates—straight-from-the-heart saxophonist Lenny Pierro, bassist Paul Gehman and drummer Mark Pultorak—also deserve their fare share of the praise, as they help to magnify the intentions that live within each of these pieces.

Pretty Melodies, for people who dig that sort of thing lives up to its self-described mandate, but it doesn't contain saccharine-sweetened themes or dumbed-down ditties. Instead, it highlights the work of an individual who proves to be a lover of melody, the possessor of a keen ear, and a man who understands that creativity and accessibility need not be seen as opposing forces.


Track Listing: From Here; Residue; Blood; Folk Tune; Ok, Now What?; Everything Is Nothing; Turnaround, Half-Step, Toodle-oo; Leaving.

Personnel: Lenny Pierro: saxophone; Jeff Baumeister: piano; Paul Gehman: bass; Mark Pultorak: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "When In Moscow" CD/LP/Track Review When In Moscow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Saga Thirteen" CD/LP/Track Review Saga Thirteen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Canvas
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!