125

Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Jack DeJohnette: Sound Travels Turning 70 and being awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship would be enough to make 2012 a special year for Jack DeJohnette, but Sound Travels transcends mere celebration of the veteran drummer/pianist/bandleader's broad swath of accomplishments since emerging, in the mid-1960s, with saxophonist Charles Lloyd's massively successful quartet.

His first album to equitably balance piano and drums—including the meditative "Enter Here" and South African/gospel-tinged "Home," solo piano pieces which bookend the set, DeJohnette actually plays piano on more tracks (eight) then drums (six)—would also be enough to render Sound Travels noteworthy in his discography. But with a core group of younger stars, including two still in their twenties—Grammy Award-winning bassist Esperanza Spalding and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire—this is DeJohnette's most unrepentantly eclectic date since the unfairly overlooked Music for the Fifth World (Manhattan, 1992) and his most readily accessible since Parallel Realities (MCA, 1990).

Accessible, however, needn't suggest artistic compromise. "New Muse," with its Phrygian tinge and shifting bars, leads into a simmering middle section where saxophonist Tim Ries turns in a powerhouse performance on soprano which—bolstered by DeJohnette's effortless swing, locked in-the-pocket with Spalding and percussionist Luisito Quintero—may surprise those only familiar with his work touring with and recording music by the Rolling Stones. "Sonny Light" conjoins its namesake, saxophonist Sonny Rollins' calypso predilections with some West African highlife, courtesy of Lionel Loueke. Elsewhere, the Beninese guitarist stretches beyond type with his B.B. King-informed playing on a joyously funkified song originally (and appropriately) titled "Seven Four" by DeJohnette, before he recruited singer/songwriter Bruce Hornsby to pen and sing the uplifting lyrics to what ultimately became the post-Katrina "Dirty Ground."

Sound Travels' brief title track captures the village atmosphere producer Robert Sadin encouraged during the recording sessions, by bringing the musicians together in a small room to work on finding their collective groove, while "Oneness" revisits a track originally performed by a different trio—Gateway, DeJohnette's collective with bassist Dave Holland and guitarist John Abercrombie—on Homecoming (ECM, 1995). Here, as Quintero and guest vocalist Bobby McFerrin fluidly interact with DeJohnette's lyrical pianism, the song hints at the broader cultural concerns that give the multifarious Sound Travels its conceptual—and spiritual—focus.

Guest Jason Moran assumes the piano chair on a breezy rework of Parallel Realities' "Indigo Dreamscapes," while "Salsa for Luisito" is a highlight for the entire core sextet—Akinmusire soaring over a dance-ready groove, Spalding's soft vocal improv meshing with a layered, three-part harmony vocal from the bassist, Quintero and DeJohnette, and the drummer laying down a piano track that makes clear his choice to keep the instrument secondary in his career has been just that: a choice.

As he heads into his eighth decade on the planet and approaches his sixth in music, DeJohnette is clearly healthy, happy and on a creative roll. Sound Travels is a powerful celebration, culmination and affirmation of an artist who may be paying it forward to his younger players, but remains the humble and appreciative reciprocal recipient on a collaborative date where there's little to prove but plenty to say.


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


Related Video

Shop

Multiple Reviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Elvin Jones Elvin Jones
drums
Kenny Wheeler Kenny Wheeler
trumpet
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Taylor Street" CD/LP/Track Review Taylor Street
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "The Only Way To Float Free" CD/LP/Track Review The Only Way To Float Free
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "King Of Xhosa" CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Jim Olin
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Garden 2nd Set" CD/LP/Track Review Garden 2nd Set
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 2, 2016

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!