171

Jason Ajemian's Smokeless Heat: The Art of Dying

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Ajemian's Smokeless Heat: The Art of Dying Bassist Jason Ajemian and his ensemble Smokeless Heat add to the continuing legacy of Chicago improv with The Art of Dying, an intimate reflection on collective musical ideals featuring drummer Noritaka Tanaka and tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman. For much of the session, the group is augmented by Matt Schneider (guitar), Jamie Branch (trumpet) and Jason Adasiewicz (marimba).

Ajemian (Chicago Underground Trio, Lay All Over It, Born Heller) is a bassist of indefinable sophistication. His sound, whether pizzicato or arco, is rich, flexible and commanding, albeit supportive and facilitating to the creative output of his musicians.

Tanaka works hand-in-hand with Ajemian through the numerous mood swings found on the disc. The dynamic drummer can swing with finesse and drive his point home with bombast and clarity.

Haldeman displays touching lyricism on his breathy ballad "Miss O," unrelenting momentum on the brief "9 Car," and an adeptness for motivic development on the freed-up swinger "U're the Guy (Keith Wood)." The saxophonist has a uniquely captivating tenor tone, especially on the trio pieces with Ajemian and Noritaka ("Your Shirts" and "Smokeless Heat").

Schneider emulates, rather convincingly, the swinging style of Barney Kessel on his composition "With or Without the Universalator (Birdie's Dream)." The guitarist's lilting ride through "Miss O" showcases his ability to patiently explore the ins-and-outs of a compositional outline, at once deliberate and spontaneous.

Branch's soft-spoken treatment of the melody on "Machine Gun Operator" creates a tense vibe that is propelled by Ajemian's looping bass figure, fitting perfectly with Tanaka's dark backbeat. The lengthy "Smokeless Heat," taken from a 2006 radio appearance on WMSE, Milwaukee, features the core trio of Ajemian, Tanaka and Haldeman sorting through a varied assortment of sonic textures, completely in-the-moment, yet unhurriedly fine-tuned.

Throughout the entire disc there is an overriding sense of community heard within. The communicative spirit of the performers leads to an intriguing listening experience, overflowing with warmth.


Track Listing: With or Without the Universalator (Birdie's Dream); The; Your Shirts; Art; Miss O; 9 Car; Of; U're the Guy (Keith Wood); Dying; Sackett's Harbor; Ludicrous Dreams and Solar Guided Lovehandles; Machine Gun Operator; Manisia Lynn; 2.4.7.9; Smokeless Heat Live on WMSE, Milwaukee.

Personnel: Jason Ajemian: bass; Tim Haldeman: tenor saxophone; Noritaka Tanaka: drums; Jamie Branch: trumpet; Matt Schneider: guitar; Jason Adasiewicz: marimba.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Saints and Sinners" CD/LP/Track Review Saints and Sinners
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Gurutopia" CD/LP/Track Review Gurutopia
by James Nadal
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 19, 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!