Don't start with the liner notes. If you do, you may be scared off from pianist/composer Jon Weber's Simple Complex. That would be a shame, because the disc is a joy to listen to, full of gripping tunes highlighted by a variety of delightful surprises. Delve too deeply into the liner notes, however, and it may soon appear that a PhD in mathematics is a prerequisite to placing the album in the player. Is there a more frightening way to begin a sentence than, "For a complete mathematical explanation..."?
Simple Complex is an apt title. The complexity so carefully elucidated in the notes is subsumed by the simple appeal of the music. Whether it's a sextet sizzler like "Hot Ice" or a cool duet ballad like "No More Words" (featuring Roy Hargrove delivering a wonderful performance on flugelhorn), Weber's compositions settle into undeniable grooves that belie the intricacy of their structures.
Paul McCandless' oboe solo on "While She's Dreaming" is a particular highlight, rendering a part another composer might have written for soprano saxophone a bit more exotic. Vocalists Alicia Reneé and Kurt Elling provide lovely wordless performances in "Is It Only Me?", the one track on the album that is perhaps best served by a quick peek at the liner notes before diving in. Throughout the disc, Weber's own playing is inventive and inviting. Indeed, all of the musicians on Simple Complex were in top form for these sessions—something made abundantly clear when it finally comes time to check out those notes. Weber is a serious creative force both as a player and a composer.
Track Listing: 1. Hot Ice
2. No More Words
3. Drastic Steps
4. Mister Kleckley
5. Simple Complex
6. While She's Dreaming
7. Is It Only Me?
9. Whatever You Say
10. Triska Deka
Personnel: Jon Weber, piano; Diego Urcola or Roy Hargrove, trumpet/flugelhorn; Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Avishai Cohen, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Peter Washington, Matt Clohesy, acoustic bass or John Ovnik, electric bass; John Moulder, guitar; Mark Walker,drums, percussion; Jonas Johansen, drums, pandeiro; Ruben Alvarez, timables; Paul McCandless, oboe; Gary Burton, vibraphone; John Ovnik, sitar; Siri Sonty, tambura; Kalman Pathak,tabla.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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