206

Michael Weiss: Soul Journey

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Weiss: Soul Journey It’s not often that you find jazz compositions of the caliber that Michael Weiss offers up on his own self-produced Soul Journey. But then, you have to consider that the pianist and composer did take home the grand prize in the Monk Institute’s Composers Competition in 2000. The second word in the title is actually a highly accurate clue to the complexity and variety of the forms, moving way beyond the typical methodology of head-solos-head. Furthermore, the front line sparkles with the heavy hitting talents of trumpeter Ryan Kisor, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, and trombonist Steve Davis.

Setting the standard for a program of all originals, the opening gambit, “Optimism,” toggles back and forth between bars of three and bars of four. Another journey to uncharted territory comes with “Atlantis,” its melody punctuated by out-of-tempo fanfares and a switch to waltz time in spots. Then towards the end of the piece, Weiss solos over a repeated riff from the horns that introduces some new melodic trinkets. In its most basic form, the title track actually struts its stuff over a rock backbeat. The twist is a lush melody statement and Weiss on Fender Rhodes, the circular harmonic movement allowing plenty of room for stretching out on the solo statements. It’s a deceptively funky intro to “Orient Express” that actually leads to a brisk bebop head and some fleet fingered work from Weiss.

If you’ve been following Weiss and his recordings over the past few years, you might have recognized that pieces like “Orient Express” and “Atlantic” were originally recorded by the pianist in a quartet setting on the DIW album Power Station. What will come as a revelation is the transformation that the pieces have made now that they’ve been fleshed out even further by Weiss for this larger ensemble. It's a given, however, how the tight sense of unity that the pianist has developed with bassist Paul Gill and drummer Joe Farnsworth, further peppering doled out sparingly via the tasty percussion flourishes of Daniel Sadownick. In the end, this a very special jazz recording that goes far beyond your typical mainstream fare. Michael Weiss is a vital talent with something important to say... and you'd do well to listen.


Track Listing: Optimism, El Camino, Soul Journey, Orient Express, Atlantis, The Prophesy, The Cheshire Cat, La Ventana, Second Thoughts

Personnel: Michael Weiss (piano, Fender Rhodes), Steve Wilson (alto sax), Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Steve Davis (trombone), Paul Gill (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums)

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sintra Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "Monte Alban" CD/LP/Track Review Monte Alban
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Known-Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Blackwater
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "The Motorman's Son" CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!