All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

205

Michael Janisch: Purpose Built

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
At a glance, Purpose Built, bassist Michael Janisch's debut as a leader, looks like a big-band session. The roster on the back of the CD case is not just stocked with notables, it's a long list of notables. As such, it would make sense to imagine this group arranged on risers, pinning the studio's needles as they achieve full song. However, the key to this disc is in its title. Rather than put all his talented eggs in one basket, Janisch mixes and matches personnel to create combinations that fit each composition perfectly.

On the disc-opener "Precisely Now," Janisch staffs his quintet's front line with two tenor players—Paul Booth and Walter Smith III. Fortunately, this normally-dicey strategy pays off on this driving composition, as Booth and Smith work seamlessly together while vibes player Jim Hart comps and fills underneath them. Hart's kit is a great substitute for a piano, and his mid-tune solo varies the texture beautifully. While Booth's and Smith's respective styles aren't noticeably different, they both have marvelous passion and a great sense of structure. Their three-way conversation with Hart on the close is positively thrilling.

Janisch moves between trio, quartet, and quintet configurations for most of Purpose, but the underlying intensity of the music remains constant. Aaron Goldberg's inspired piano on "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" matches Janisch's jumping trio arrangement. (Goldberg also helps channel Billy Strayhorn's darker side on the serially ominous "Blood Count.") Über-guitarist Mike Moreno expands the swath he's been cutting through the jazz world, contributing vibrant solos to the intriguing "Adelante" and the breakneck "Pukl-n-Pappo." Phil Robson may not be as adventurous as Moreno, but Robson's traditional hollow-body guitar is a natural for the Janisch original "Lost Creek" and for the spritely reboot of "Milestones." Altoist Patrick Cornelius brings serious electricity to the Miles Davis standard, then takes that energy up a notch when he joins with Smith and trumpeter Jason Palmer on "Beep," a galloping sextet piece dedicated to Janisch's late brother, composer Dave Janisch.

Two things never change on Purpose. One of them is the rhythm section. Janisch and drummer Johnathan Blake can both be considered a handful on their respective instruments, as they demonstrate repeatedly here. Together, though, they are an unstoppable force, with a mutual understanding that borders on telepathy. Blake's cymbals shoot sparks while Janisch nails the foundation on "Adelante," and they are the glue that holds the collage-like "Sofa Stomp" together. Blake also lets Janisch take his electric bass right to the edge on the two-handed coda "Moment's Notice."

The other unchanging thing is the quality of Janisch's compositions and arrangements. If smart is sexy, then Purpose is an eminently sexy effort. The session has a staggering depth of thought, filled with content-rich pieces that routinely go beyond the genre's well-worn performance framework. Hopefully there is more where Purpose Built came from, because intelligent, full-bodied music like this is what jazz needs to succeed in this new century.


Track Listing: Precisely Now; Adelante; Love is a Many Splendored Thing; Shumshi; Milestones; Serenade of the Seas; Pukl-n-Pappo; Sofa Stomp; Lost Creek; Blood Count; Beep; Moment's Notice.

Personnel: Michael Janisch: acoustic and electric bass; Paul Booth, Walter Smith III: tenor sax; Jim Hart: vibraphone; Jason Palmer: trumpet; Mike Moreno, Phil Robson: guitar; Aaron Goldberg: piano; Patrick Cornelius: alto sax; Johnathan Blake: drums.

Title: Purpose Built | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are

Michael Janisch
First Meeting: Live in London,...

Shumshi

Shumshi

Michael Janisch
Purpose Built

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2015

buy
First Meeting: Live in London, Volume 1

First Meeting: Live...

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2014

buy
Banned in London

Banned in London

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2012

buy
Purpose Built

Purpose Built

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2010

buy
Purpose Built

Purpose Built

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2009

buy
Traveling Song

Traveling Song

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "I'll Tell You Later In December" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Tell You Later In December
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Last Minute Panic" CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Sparse" CD/LP/Track Review Sparse
by Don Phipps
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "44/876" CD/LP/Track Review 44/876
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 8, 2017