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Formed in 1995, the Sonic Explorers mold jazz’s modern mainstream according to established, down to earth principles. A healthy respect for tone, as well as a desire to make the listener’s journey fresh and alive, keeps the session on edge-of-your-seat territory. Trumpeter Jerry Sabatini wrote the music. Each piece stirs the listener’s emotions in suite-like fashion through timeless impressions. The band’s web site describes the music as “American modern jazz, Eastern European folk, Middle and Far Eastern classical music and Twentieth-Twenty-First Century Western classical music.”
That’s quite a load.
All the elements, of course, are there if you’re willing to let your mind roam a bit. The band’s web site also includes audio samples from each piece on the album. “Balkalla” has an exotic flavor akin to “Caravan.” “Advansor” wails in a popular Sci-Fi vein. Bassist Thomson Kneeland steers the third piece along beautiful arco lines; then, trombonist Rich Ardizzone and baritone saxophonist Mark Weisman steal the show on “Still Night Everywhere Reigning.” It’s a lovely piece that dishes out straight-ahead jazz in liberal doses. There’s much more.
Each of the artists displays impeccable mastery of his instrument. Sabatini’s feature on “Geraldo’s Hideaway” sums it all up. The band has taken its lead from the music of Duke Ellington and forged ahead. Passion and individual expression get their due. Several pieces produce images of distant lands and cross-cultural ties.
The music of Jerry Sabatini and the Sonic Explorers comes highly recommended. So Far, So Near is a can’t-miss opportunity.
Track Listing: Balkalla; Advansor; Negative Space; Still Night Everywhere Reigning; Geraldo
Personnel: Jerry Sabatini- trumpet, flugelhorn; Rich Ardizzone- trombone; Mark Weisman- alto saxophone,
tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Jason Hunter- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Nate
Radley- guitar, electronics; Thomson Kneeland- double bass, electronics; Mike Connors- drums,
percussion; James Falzone- clarinet on
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.