185

Ari Roland: Sketches from a Bassist's Album

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Ari Roland: Sketches from a Bassist's Album
Any session led by a double-bassist has to have pizzazz to work. Ari Roland proves this axiom true as he solos with authority, walks the bass for a confident rhythmic foundation, and encourages his sidemen to turn it loose. From New York, just over thirty, and a standard fixture at Smalls, Roland finds it easy to communicate with other straight-ahead musicians and his audience. It's natural. He speaks through his instrument. With his quartet, he explores melodies that present a casual mood.

Roland wrote seven of the ten compositions on Sketches; the other three come from jazz's extensive mainstream repertoire. The bassist works comfortably with tenor soloist Chris Byars and pianist Sacha Perry, who stretch out often. Drummer Phil Stewart helps Roland mind the store, stepping up to the plate on occasion to solo.

Roland loves to use the bow. It allows him room to express lyrically and seamlessly. In this way, he's able to share the melodic spirit intelligently. "Mensch Blues," a slow, simmering anthem with walking bass and heartfelt outpourings from tenor, piano, and bowed bass, represents a dedication to Roland's teacher, Homer Mensch. It's obvious that the teacher intended for his student to show what he feels through music. While the bowed bass pattern becomes muddy in spots, the message is there. Roland plays with emotion.

Chris Byars and Sacha Perry swing hard throughout the session. Both gentlemen solo eloquently and comp behind the leader when called upon. Roland inserts an arco bass solo into nearly every track. "Thou Swell" is no exception, as tenor, piano and bass wend their way through individual melodic improvisations intended to expose lyric beauty. It works.

Both predictable and reliable, Roland and company carry on the straight-ahead tradition with spirit. This contribution keeps the ball rolling from one generation to the next.

Track Listing

The Lion of Yerevan; Most's Paradise; Replaceable Me; Swamp Thing Goes to the Indy 500; Mensch Blues; Ah, Transcarpathicus; Thou Swell; Byars-a-Maki; Mo's On; I'll Walk Alone.

Personnel

Ari Roland: bass; Chris Byars: tenor saxophone; Sacha Perry: piano; Phil Stewart: drums.

Album information

Title: Sketches from a Bassist's Album | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Smalls Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus
Ikue Mori / Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read In Baltimore
In Baltimore
The George Coleman Quintet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.