All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

13

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

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Pretty Melodies, for people who dig that sort of thing | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Dodecahedron CD/LP/Track Review
Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018
Read The Chopin Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Chopin Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Fullmoon" CD/LP/Track Review Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Tschuss Jazz Era" CD/LP/Track Review Tschuss Jazz Era
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "True Story" CD/LP/Track Review True Story
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Evergreen" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 9, 2018