2

Blake Meister: Septagon

John Ephland By

Sign in to view read count
Blake Meister: Septagon Well-played, with an internal sense of melody that everyone gets. That's bassist Blake Meister's Septagon in a nutshell. And that "everyone" includes a crew worth paying attention to: pianist Marc Copland, drummer Ralph Peterson, guitarist Paul Bollenback and reed player Gary Thomas. They pretty much all get room to solo as they tackle the charts, the songs full of twists and turns. What Septagon doesn't have is a strong enough musical identity to keep you humming well after the music has stopped.

Some of the best spots are where Meister himself solos, which isn't on every tune; but when he does show up it sounds inevitable, fitting. He's right at home, his playing assured. And, with a penchant, it seems, to give everyone a say across all of his eight tunes, sans Peterson (who does pop out here and there), the younger Meister leads with a democratic hand, wisely taking advantage of the talent he has on board.

The energetic "Blackout" skirts the contours of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," the arrangement cleverly inserting passages where the band basically introduces itself one by one to get things going. It's a sign of what's to come as the material stays within the well- honed parameters of mainstream acoustic jazz, Bollenbeck's electric guitar occasionally adding an edge in spots, as when he appears on the loose-limbed Latin number "Cynic" and on the medium-tempo blues swinger title track, which closes the set. And it's good to hear Copland in a more straight-ahead setting, his playing a good complement to Meister's, and Peterson's often- gregarious drumming curbed to fit the proceedings just so, Thomas' serene flute a nice touch along the way.

Septagon swings, it offers tuneful refrains and quiet interludes, e.g., "Falling (In Slow Motion)" is an apt description of what rolls out and how, its moody cadences and soft focus a welcome contrast to what is more often a gently rowdy ride. Overall, the impression left is of a music not quite fully formed, but maybe getting there.


Track Listing: Blackout; Sunken City; The Grind; Falling (In Slow Motion); Cynic; Market East; Sunset; Septagon.

Personnel: Blake Meister, bass; Gary Thomas, tenor saxophone, flute; Paul Bollenback, guitar; Marc Copland, piano; Ralph Peterson, drums.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "2nd Thoughts" CD/LP/Track Review 2nd Thoughts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Havana Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Havana Blue
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Seeing Is Believing" CD/LP/Track Review Seeing Is Believing
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 27, 2016
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!