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
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.