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Young New York bassist Colin Dean is adept at playing the music of different genres as his jazz debut Shiwasu demonstrates, with its influences from world music and hip-hop styles. Dean is very comfortable in other genres; in fact after graduating from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, he formed the Roots and Groove band, performing jazz for the hip-hop generation. There is no mistaking this recording howeverit's not hip-hop, it is jazz, and good modern jazz at that.
Saxophonist Sean Nowell is the featured player on the opening original piece, "Growth," using the soprano as the desired saxophone voice on lead. World-renowned pianist Rachel Z. tees off on the Rodgers and Hart standard "My Romance," energizing a beautiful melody with her piano phrases, as Dean weighs in with a tasteful bass solo of his own. Drummer Colin Stranahan rounds out the quartet and provides the percussive foundation powering the music. "Wakan" is the defining piece of the album inhibiting a gorgeous hard-driving melody containing some of Dean's best work on the bass.
The pianist introduces the first soft spot of the disc delivering a few light chords on "Bardo," that eventually changes direction when it is completely taken over by Nowell's hard play on the tenor, in a number reflecting a bit of the hip-hop flavor. The original "Brooklyn Ferry," hovers in mid- tempo territory incorporating a series of delicate piano lines which, along with Stranahan's light brush work and the bassist's own gentle touch, result in a very introspective number and highlight of the disc. The closer happens to be a brief and light rendition of the Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin standard, "My Ship," revealing more of Dean's superb bass lines and Nowell's sparkling play on soprano.
There's interesting new material on Colin Dean's impressive debut Shiwasu, with unconventional and challenging music throughout. Whether sampling original pieces or absorbing the latest reads of a couple of common standards, this is new and engaging music.
Track Listing: Growth; Wakan; My Romance; Bardo; Akasha; Brooklyn Ferry; My Ship.
Personnel: Colin Dean: bass; Sean Nowell: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Colin Stranahan: drums; Rachel Z: piano.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.