Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

310

Jason Ajemian: The Art of Dying

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Credit the laidback Midwestern vibe, or the relative availability of regular gigs, but jazz musicians from the Windy City sometimes seem to enjoy a more communal sense of development than their East Coast cousins. The highly competitive New York scene may be the undisputed center of the jazz world, but Chicago's fertile scene has generated its fair share of cutting-edge talent.

A current example is bassist Jason Ajemian, whose Delmark Records debut, The Art of Dying, features his own longstanding trio. A busy sideman, Ajemian is a member of the Chicago Underground Trio, Exploding Star Orchestra, A Cushicle and numerous other regional bands. Smokeless Heat, his close-knit trio with drummer Noritaka Tanaka and tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman is joined by a handful of local associates, including Jamie Branch (trumpet), Matt Schneider (guitar) and Jason Adasiewicz (marimba).

Varying from trio to sextet, the fluctuating ensemble navigates a program that encapsulates the diverse continuum of jazz history. From gorgeous ballads and ethereal tone poems to simmering blues and angular post bop, the rotating line-up handles each style with utter conviction and carefree conversational acumen.

Ajemian and Noritaka Tanaka reveal their deep-seated rapport over a wide range of forms. Their rubato interplay on "Manisia Lynn" ebbs with a leisurely pulse and thoughtful articulation, whereas the knotty "U're The Guy" catches them in a raw mood, as they careen through an electrifying free bop shuffle.

Tim Haldeman is a refreshing new voice with a textbook knowledge of the tenor tradition. His languorous cadence and dulcet tone on "Miss O" invokes the breathy timbre of pre-swing tenors, while the caterwauling multiphonics that erupt from his tenor on "9 Car" conjure the strident attack of Post-War modernists.

Jamie Branch makes a perfect foil to Haldeman as they trade lines, alternating fiery brio with lyrical restraint. Matt Schneider is a nuanced stylist adept at understated sentiments and Jason Adasiewicz's woody marimba tones add a kaleidoscopic patina to the set.

Scattered word-by-word across the set, the album title is broken into four miniature vignettes that serve as recurrent fanfares. The session alternates between tantalizingly brief sketches and more conventional tunes, encompassing a wide variety of approaches, from the bluesy soulfulness of "Sackett's Harbor" to the ominous drama of "Machine Gun Operator." Recorded for a radio broadcast, the 24 minute trio improvisation "Smokeless Heat Live on WMSE, Milwaukee" concludes the record with a dynamic, focused exploration of moods, ranging from serene to vivacious, without devolving into meandering formlessness.

Another brilliant document verifying Chicago's ancient to the future jazz aesthetic, The Art of Dying is a vibrant example of what lies ahead.

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.

Title: The Art of Dying | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

General Articles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
A Way a Land of Life

A Way a Land of Life

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Folklords

Folklords

Delmark Records
2014

buy
 

Protest Heaven

Sound Aspects Records
2010

buy
The Art of Dying

The Art of Dying

Delmark Records
2008

buy
 

Who Cares How Long...

Sound Aspects Records
2004

buy
 

A Way A Land Of Life

Sound Aspects Records
0

buy

Related Articles

Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019