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...

177

Marc Johnson: Shades of Jade

By

Sign in to view read count
Bassist and composer Marc Johnson may have taken a quarter century to distill the essence of his playing in the last great Bill Evans trio, but Shades of Jade proves it was worth the wait. What is most astonishing about this masterful work is that it took someone I would never have thought of as a Johnson collaborator, pianist Eliane Elias, to make it the summit of Johnson's recorded efforts as a leader. So towering is her involvement, in multiple roles as pianist, composer, and co-producer, that it is incomprehensible that she doesn't share top billing.

As with Johnson, this is the zenith of her recorded ouput; but unlike Johnson, who only has three discs to his name as a leader, Elias has a fairly substantial discography. And as respectful as I've been of her previous recordings, I had thought of her primarily as stuck in a Jobim/Brazil groove in one way or another. That judgment was completely off. Her originals and co-creations with Johnson are sparkling, eclectic, and quite far removed from any Brazilian groove. They comprise the heart of this heart-stopping masterpiece.

That said, the rest of the players are all playing at the top of their form. Saxophonist Joe Lovano adds little coloristic touches to several of these moody, atmospheric tone poems that cement my feeling that he is the Ben Webster of our era. Drummer Joey Baron has never sounded so subtle. Guitarist John Scofield, who is less present throughout than Lovano and Baron, shines on a gospel-tinged "Raise" that adds a little optimistic thrust to an otherwise largely pensive set. Organist Alain Mallet may be even more on the sidelines, but he contributes tastefully.

Johnson sounds like he's reconsidered his sense of musical and spiritual connection to the late Scott LaFaro, into whose shoes he tried to fit with Evans. His lines are less busy than LaFaro's, very much in tune with Elias' delicate impressionistic lyricism. Their affinity is showcased in the mesmerizingly hypnotic title cut, as well as the Debussy-inspired "Snow."

Little needs to be said about the secure place that ECM's best releases occupy in jazz history. I count this as one of the label's dozen most moving recordings.


Track Listing: Ton Sur Ton; Aparaceu; Shades of Jade; In 30 Hours; Blue Nefertiti; Snow; Since You Asked; Raise; All Yours; Don't Ask of Me.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; John Scofield: guitar; Eliane Elias: piano; Marc Johnson: double-bass; Joey Baron: drums; Alain Mallet: organ.

Title: Shades of Jade | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Swept Away

Swept Away

ECM Records
2012

buy
Shades of Jade

Shades of Jade

ECM Records
2005

buy
 

The Sound of Summer...

Verve Music Group
1998

buy

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "The Bowels Of Jupiter" CD/LP/Track Review The Bowels Of Jupiter
by Don Phipps
Published: March 6, 2018
Read "can't believe, won't believe" CD/LP/Track Review can't believe, won't believe
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 14, 2018
Read "Chants To The Sea - The Corium project" CD/LP/Track Review Chants To The Sea - The Corium project
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 30, 2018
Read "Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Thelonious Sphere Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Thelonious Sphere Monk
by Kevin Press
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "Triplicate" CD/LP/Track Review Triplicate
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017