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...

12

Jack DeJohnette: Return

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The only thing that Jack DeJohnette seems to have forgotten in his maturing years, is that, by the law of nature, he is supposed to be slowing down. Instead, as the composer/multi-instrumentalist heads toward his mid-seventies, he is as productive as he has ever been in his long, celebrated career. His releases over the past twelve months, include In Movement (ECM, 2016), a probing trio collection with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and bassist/electronic artist Matthew Garrison, the raucous quintet outing Made in Chicago (ECM Records, 2015) and the fifty-year old Bill Evans Trio discovery, Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest (Resonance Records, 2016). DeJohnette puts the sticks aside for this solo piano album, Return, a collection of ten all-acoustic compositions, two new, one cover, and the remainder being reinterpretations of older DeJohnette compositions.

A note about Newvelle Records: it is a new, subscription based label out of New York and founded by jazz pianist by Elan Mehler and Parisian, Jean-Christophe Morisseau. Newvelle is a vinyl-only jazz label pressed on 180g vinyl. These are quality, high-end recordings at a premium price. To date, the Frank Kimbrough Quintet, Noah Preminger Quartet and Ben Allison Trio are among the five featured releases. Though some audio aficionados may question the use of digital recording (Newvelle's method) over analog, Return indicates that the quality is pristine.

Return is not DeJohnette's first piano album. He played piano and synthesizer on The Jack DeJohnette Piano Album (Landmark, 1985) leaving the drumming in the hands of Freddie Waits. He also played piano on two tracks on In Movement but in the intervening thirty years, the keyboard was used infrequently on recordings, primarily being DeJohnette's composing device.

One of two new compositions, "Ode to Satie," is inspired by the French composer's Gymnopédies, three piano compositions sharing a common theme. From Inflation Blues (ECM, 1983), the Special Edition group featuring Chico Freeman and Rufus Reid, comes "Ebony." A wholly different arrangement, stripped down and using unusual meters gives the piece a new life. The original "Silver Hollow" (New Directions ECM, 1978) featured John Abercrombie and Lester Bowie but with DeJohnette on piano, the versions bear strong similarities. "Lydia," a piece DeJohnette dedicates to his wife and muse, dates back to 1977 but in the solo piano rendition takes on a heightened level of emotion. From that same year, "Blue" has been recorded several times by DeJohnette; this time in a minor key adding a more somber shade to the piece.

Sufi dancers were the inspiration for "Dervish Trance," the other original composition on Return, reflects the transformation to mindfulness experienced by the dancers as they lose themselves in a steady, whirling motion. The atmospheric "Indigo Dreamscapes," a moody piece that first appeared on Parallel Realities (MCA, 1990) loses the funky fusion styling originally supplied by Herbie Hancock. DeJohnette's new interpretation is warm and melodic, sounding as though it were always meant to be recorded this way. "Song for World Forgiveness" and "Exotic Isles" are quietly uplifting while the closing piece, "Ponta de Areia," written by Brazilian Milton Nascimento, is a beautiful lullaby-like tune and a perfect way to take Return out.

DeJohnette's 1985 album struck many listeners as a revelation, especially those not knowing that the drummer had begun his career as a pianist. While it was clear with ...Piano Album that DeJohnette was not merely engaging in a vanity project, Return is something else again. The compositions, while translated in an unpretentious way, often sound simpler than they are. In DeJohnette's album notes, he acknowledges that he did not overthink the process of recording the album, saying that he wanted the flow to be natural; the title referring to a return to uncomplicated beauty. He has achieved just that.

Track Listing: Side A: Ode to Satie; Ebony; Silver Hollow; Lydia; Blue. Side B: Dervish Trance; Indigo Dreamscapes; Song for World Forgiveness; Exotic Isles; Ponta de Areia.

Personnel: Jack DeJohnette: piano.

Title: Return | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Newvelle Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Ode to South Africa

Ode to South Africa

Jack DeJohnette
The Elephant Sleeps But Still...

Tango African

Tango African

Jack DeJohnette
Music We Are

Ocean Wave

Ocean Wave

Jack DeJohnette
Music From The Hearts Of The...

Tango Africaine

Tango Africaine

Jack DeJohnette
Live at Yoshi's 2010

Sonny Light

Sonny Light

Jack DeJohnette
Sound Travels

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Hudson

Hudson

Motema Music
2017

buy
Return

Return

Newvelle Records
2016

buy
In Movement

In Movement

ECM Records
2016

buy
Made in Chicago

Made in Chicago

ECM Records
2015

buy
Special Edition

Special Edition

ECM Records
2013

buy
Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition

Jack DeJohnette:...

ECM Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Malnoia" CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "The Cheap Ensemble" CD/LP/Track Review The Cheap Ensemble
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2017