Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

99

Adam Kolker: Reflections

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
If, by some twist of fate, winds and reeds player Adam Kolker were not to be a musician, he would certainly have made a name for himself as a painter. Here too he would have had a choice of media, for he would have done extremely well as an impressionist whose canvases recalled the brilliance of Monet, or a water colorist who would have done the Japanese tradition proud. As it happens, he seems to have accomplished all of this exquisite "visual artistry" in one fell swoop, on the musical canvas of his extraordinary album, Reflections. Kolker's warm, moist tone is resplendent in the gold and rust tones of dusk, but somehow he does not stop there. Although his tenor saxophone is redolent with the scent of verdant countryside and things suburban, he can slip into an urbane mode that reflects a deeply urban mentality. In this respect he sounds like a creature of the night, surrounded by a small coterie of fine musicians, playing his heart out, and echoing the huge sadness and small joys of the night.

Possessed of immense talent, unlike many of his peers Kolker does not so much play as caress his instrument with his warm, diaphanous breath. Whether he is playing flutes, clarinets or tenor saxophone—his main instrument, here at least—he employs such softness of touch and expression that he seems to make love to his instrument. Kolker plays long meandering lines that he seems to break up only when expressive thoughts are complete. Then he returns with a line, equally long, that seems to sing in response to the one he just played earlier. The result is that Kolker's soli seem to be imaginary conversations that appear to be carried out between characters in his songs. "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "Reflection" become beautifully told stories as well as exquisite painterly images, all rolled into one. Their characters are in motion, caressing one another, whispering sweet nothings while assisting in the unfurling of their stories.

Even when Kolker joins forces with voice artiste Judi Silvano, on "Boscarob," he merely substitutes one of the composition's characters with Silvano's voice, as they skitter and slide and jabber their way through Silvano's beguiling song. Silvano is, of course, her inimitable self—and the glue that holds the song together, as it careens its way to a startling ending, with Kolker holding his own, and playing an excellent foil to the singer. Again, on "Nature Boy," it is vocalist, Kay Matsukawa and Kolker who turn the classic Eden Abhez chart into a truly gorgeous mystery kept alive by her magical voice and playing that is both majestic and memorable.

Even Thelonious Monk's rarely played masterpiece, "Let's Call This," and drummer Billy Mintz's "Flight" seem to fit Kolker's sensibility—or at least he makes them fit as if they were his own, on this album of unforgettable splendor.

Track Listing: Soon It's Gonna Rain; Let's Call This; Reflection; Boscarob; Flight; Song Along The Way; Fez; Nature Boy; Kevin's Birthday Blues; Flight (Reprise).

Personnel: Adam Kolker: tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; John Hébert: bass; Billy Mintz: drums; John Abercrombie: guitar (1, 9); Russ Lossing: piano (3, 4, 6); Judy Silvano: voice (4); Kay Matsukawa: voice (8).

Title: Reflections | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Bright Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Moments
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "For Free" CD/LP/Track Review For Free
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Common Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Common Ground
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Signal 9" CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Hide Ye Idols" CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017