94

Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels With 2012 barely underway, it looks like it's going to be a year to remember for drum legend Jack DeJohnette. The renowned rhythmic force behind classic recordings from Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett—and numerous notable projects of his own—will receive some well-deserved recognition when he's inducted into the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Master Fellowship in January. Crossing the globe to bring his music to admirers around the world, 2012 also marks his 70th birthday. Putting him at an age when many people rest on their laurels and look back at their accomplishments with pride, DeJohnette keeps looking forward as he creates music that jazz fans can look forward to hearing.

Yet another cause for celebration, Sound Travels, is an easy-to-digest, cross-stylistic journey featuring some A-list players. DeJohnette's objective was "to make something that would make people move, to make them relax and forget their troubles." He wanted to "bring a smile" with these songs, which highlight his compositional and performance skills (on piano and drums), and there is, indeed, plenty to smile about.

DeJohnette bookends the album with two beautiful solo piano performances—the Zen-like "Enter Here" and Abdullah Ibrahim-inspired "Home"—but works with an all-star lineup elsewhere, with a few special guests invited to the party. Pianist Jason Moran makes an appearance on "Indigo Dreamscape," first heard on the leader's Parallel Realities (MCA, 1990), while beyond-category vocalist Bobby McFerrin brings his inimitable vocals to the serene and absorbing "Oneness," and Bruce Hornsby drops in to sing on an instantly likeable, odd-metered roots-rock number co-written with DeJohnette, "Dirty Ground."

While these high profile guests will likely bring some greater attention to the project, the band on hand needs no help delivering quality music. The two horns that appear at various times throughout the album—trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and saxophonist Tim Ries—add volumes as individuals, prove complementary in terms of blend and balance, and provide contrast in solo styles ("New Muse"). Other strong contributions come from guitarist Lionel Loueke, who puts an African slant on a calypso written in honor of Sonny Rollins ("Sonny Light"), and percussionist Luisito Quintero, who seasons the music with Latin spices ("Salsa for Luisito") and adds to the jam-based vibe on the brief title track. Bassist Esperanza Spalding anchors the group with her buoyant bottom end, but it's her angelically soulful pipes that may garner more attention, as she wordlessly glides along on "Salsa for Luisito."

DeJohnette's drum and piano work is more functional than flashy, reflecting the big-picture wisdom he's always shown, but his taste and talent are always apparent. While the title of this record may or may not have been an intentional double entendre, Sound Travels rings true; whether viewed as a globe-trotting aural odyssey or comfortable sojourn, both qualities make for an enjoyable listen.

Track Listing: Enter Here; Salsa for Luisito; Dirty Ground; New Muse; Sonny Light; Sound Travels; Oneness; Indigo Dreamscapes; Home.

Personnel: Jack DeJohnette: piano (1-7, 9), drums (2-6, 8), resonating bell (1), vocal (2), keyboards (3); Tim Ries: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 5, 8), soprano saxophone (3, 4); Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (2, 4, 5); Lionel Loueke: guitar (2, 3, 5, 6); Esperanza Spalding: bass (2-6, 8), vocal (2, 3); Luisito Quintero: percussion (2-8), vocal (2); Bruce Hornsby: vocal (3); Bobby McFerrin: vocal (7); Jason Moran: piano (8).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: eOne Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

Multiple Reviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Tangofied III" CD/LP/Track Review Tangofied III
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Warsaw Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Warsaw Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "The Imperfect Sea" CD/LP/Track Review The Imperfect Sea
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "WANDERlust" CD/LP/Track Review WANDERlust
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.