179

John Hagen: Segments

By

Sign in to view read count
John Hagen: Segments Segments begins well. John Hagen's tenor tone is rich and strong, his phrasing warm and soulful. Shanir Blumenkranz strums droning clusters of bass notes over drummer Todd Capp's free pulse. The piece rumbles and rolls along for ten pleasant minutes before gliding to a gentle finish. Track two introduces the second of several band configurations featured on the recording: pianist Denman Maroney, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway. On most of the pieces, snatches of Hagen's compositions, or "segments, can be heard as connective devices for improvised passages. Some pieces sound more thoroughly composed, the rhythm section floating freely over ephemerally coiling melodies and chords.

Lacking more information to supplement the meager statement given with the CD, it seems a fair guess that the music heard on Segments is roughly one part composition to three parts improvisation. This is a nice ratio, and Hagen and his sidemen artfully blend the two so that the boundaries between them are pleasantly blurred. The end effect is sophisticated, gently persuasive modern jazz—a little aimless-sounding sometimes, but also haunting, inviting repeated listens.

Hagen is the rare saxophonist leader who doesn't dominate the show. Even with a trio, where many in his shoes would feel obliged to grab the spotlight, Hagen shares it with grace. Which is not to say he doesn't shine; on the contrary, his playing is satisfyingly solid, not overpowering or brash. Throughout this very well-recorded session every instrument, including the bass, can always be heard clearly. This is a welcome relief from the jangling, jarring (or, conversely, the stifled studio) sound of many jazz albums. Segments has the potential to convert listeners averse to free improv by meeting them halfway, an éntente the music sorely needs.

Personnel: John Hagen (tenor, alto and soprano saxes), Denman Maroney (piano), Mark Dresser (bass - selected tracks), Snanir Blemenkranz (bass - selected tracks), Gerry Hemingway (drums - selected tracks), Todd Capp (drums - selected tracks).

Title: Segments | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Cadence Jazz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read # 1 CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Tetrawind CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Triplicate CD/LP/Track Review Triplicate
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Third Stage of Elegance" CD/LP/Track Review Third Stage of Elegance
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Thank You For Coming To Life" CD/LP/Track Review Thank You For Coming To Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "The Digging" CD/LP/Track Review The Digging
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!