All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...


Robinson Morse's Sound of Mind Featuring Peter Apfelbaum at FlynnSpace

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Robinson Morse's Sound of Mind Featuring Peter Apfelbaum
Burlington, Vermont
December 16, 2017

In a focused performance comparable to that which his Green Mountain jazz peer, saxophonist/composer Brian McCarthy, offered just two weeks prior, bassist/composer Robinson Morse authoritatively led his Sound of Mind ensemble through a vigorous seventy-five minute set that wholly satisfied the near overflow audience in FlynnSpace this mid-December evening.

And the crowed didn't respond as heartily as it did merely out of loyalty to a local musician. Rather, they were inspired by the ten-piece unit's presentation of a swift string of tunes including the entirety of their album Enough Is Plenty (Recombination, 2017), parlayed in such crisp, snappy fashion, those in attendance might well have savored another two hours or more.

While it's not fair to say this performance rendered obsolete their studio recording, the unit certainly made the case for concerts of greater duration. That said, the usual means of filling a greater time allotment might rely on more frequent, not to mention conventional, intervals for soloing, perhaps something on the order of a duet featuring drummer Dan Ryan and percussionist PJ Davidian; the pair of quick breaks by the ever-so-casual former served their purpose, but additional such segments might just end up undercutting the distinction of this presentation.

Because this second of two shows featuring the Sound of Mind group focused on the bassist/bandleader's original compositions. And deservedly so, as it reaffirmed Morse's uncanny ability to compose in such a way material like "Atmosphere" captures the organic structure of an improvisation in full-motion; there was a distinct sense of spontaneity as readily-discernible within Dan Devine's carefully-parsed guitar as Parker Shper's keyboard work, an energetic air that also permeated the integral action of the five-man horn section: theirs were not mere embellishments to the core quintet.

Playing in unison, the rigorously charted melody lines of trumpet (Taylor Haskins, Brian Boyes) saxophone (Jake Whitesell, Zack Tonnissen, Bryan McNamara and special guest Peter Apfelbaum) and trombone (the Queen City stalwart James Harvey) crystallized in the air once they wafted from the stage. And when solos emerged from the changes of a particular song, as on Aleksey Novosyolov's "Lifted On High," those sounds only increased the intensity of the playing, not just in that of the individual, but in the group as a whole.

Maintaining equally muscular thrust whether on acoustic or electric basses, the bandleader himself was so humble he took only a single solo himself, appropriately enough, on "Congruence." Yet Morse's spotlight served the purpose of other such intervals throughout the night because it not only promoted the flow of musicianship from every angle on the stage, and thus ensured its impact pervaded the room.

As a result, in contrast to the balmy likes of the album's titlesong on record, this live take crackled with electricity. And even as Morse and SOM unfurled all the other seven tracks from Enough Is Plenty in swift succession (plus "Chimes," by featured guest collaborator/keyboardist Apfelbaum), that selection reaffirmed how the group know how to distinguish the immediacy of the stage from the insularity of the studio. Accordingly, at the end, the deep rumble within "Paranormal" and "Outsider," made that concluding sequence sound tailor-made for exactly the emphatic finish the crowd so clearly relished.

But make no mistake, the intimate size of this venue did not figure in that equation of cause and effect: 2018's Burlington Discover Jazz Festival would do well to feature Morse and company, inside or al fresco during the summer month of June, if only to certify the latent power at the command of the dectet, not to mention allow a more extended interval within which to play. Under those circumstances, the leader would have the time to introduce by name the personnel he at one juncture earnestly professed to be his best friends.

Such an appearance would thus contain a logic all its own and represent a logical extension of this show that wholly and completely deserved the dual standing ovations it elicited from the deeply appreciative audience. Occurring within a week of the winter solstice, this event conjured up a warmth comparable in its own way to that arising around its summer counterpart. That's no small accomplishment around this time of the year in Vermont, but wholly in line with this stylish execution of Robinson Morse's laudable ambition.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read European Jazz Conference 2018 Live Reviews
European Jazz Conference 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 25, 2018
Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY Live Reviews
Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane" Live Reviews Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "GoGo Penguin at Out To Lunch" Live Reviews GoGo Penguin at Out To Lunch
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Hitch On 2017" Live Reviews Hitch On 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2018
by John Kelman
Published: June 29, 2018