Jon Gordon: Stranger Than FictionBy
There are indeed many twists and turnsmost of them pleasing, a few rather less sowithin the ten charts Gordon has written for his ensemble, which consists for the most part of faculty and former students at the University of Manitoba in Canada, where Gordon has taught for nearly a decade. His cool, vibrato-less alto is the main solo voice, with concise yet engaging statements along the way by guitarists Jocelyn Gould and Larry Roy, pianists Will Bonness and Orrin Evans, bass clarinetist John Ellis, trombonist Alan Ferber and trumpeter Derrick Gardner. The music is more cerebral than swinging, which may charm some ears while leaving others unmoved. No matter the consequence, Gordon has a plan and follows it to the letter.
The studio date opens in free-form style with "Pointillism," an exploratory treatise on which Gordon shows his avant-garde creds, before nestling into a more temperate groove on "Havens" and the numbers that follow. There is one curious aside midstreamthe brief "Sunyasin"on which Gould is listed as vocalist, as she is on "Pointillism," but the vocals are wordless and more or less dispensable. The penultimate number, "Steps," is another anomaly, running for less than a minute, wherein reeds and brass fashion a graceful chorale without the rhythm section. "Waking Dream," which brings down the curtain, is another exercise in translucency on which Gordon's alto is front and center. Notwithstanding its placid veneer, the music is well-written, the ensemble alert and capable. One's reaction may depend in large measure on his or her fondness for jazz that is more meditative than convivial. While Gordon has much of interest to say, he does say it rather quietly.
Pointillism; Havens; Stranger Than Fiction; Dance; Sunyasin; Counterpoint; Bella; Modality; Steps; Waking Dream.
Jon Gordon: saxophone, alto; Derrick Gardner: trumpet; Reginald Lewis: saxophone; Tristan Martinuson: saxophone, tenor; John Ellis: saxophone, tenor; Annna Blackmore: clarinet, bass; Alan Ferber: trombone; Jocelyn Gould: guitar; Larry Roy: guitar; Will Bonness: piano; Orrin Evans: piano; Julian Bradford: bass, acoustic; Fabio Ragnelli: drums.
Title: Stranger Than Fiction | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: ArtistShare
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About Jon Gordon
Instrument: Saxophone, altoArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists