All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

240

Jason Rigby: The Sage

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
When purists maintain their Cheney-like insistence that nobody could have foreseen Miles Davis recording something as incendiary as Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969), they reveal a blind spot the size of the Chrysler Building. The pre-Brew signs were as plain as the glasses on Stanley Crouch's face: First there was Filles de Kilimanjaro (Columbia, 1968), which codified changes referenced on Nefertiti (Columbia, 1967); following Filles was In a Silent Way (Columbia, 1969), which—once past the revelatory opening figure of Joe Zawinul's title track—is basically two grooves stretched out over nearly twenty minutes apiece. The roots of saxophonist Jason Rigby's The Sage are grounded in those transitional recordings that hinted the world was about to explode.

The front line and rhythm section seem to be at cross-purposes on "Magenta": Rigby and Russ Johnson are in a shambling sort of unison, building not quite an echo as they play the establishing figure, while Gerald Cleaver and Cameron Brown are jumping on the floor and throwing the furniture around the room. The melody gets another level of texture and resonance when Mike Holober adds Fender Rhodes to the mix. It all seems counterproductive on its face, but "Magenta" is like one of those computer-generated pictures where the only way to see the actual picture is to find the right angle and squint. Cleaver and Brown's cacophony is a cleverly-camouflaged foundation for Rigby, Johnson and Holober to throw splashes of color against the wall, and the end result is both startling and satisfying.

A sense of anarchy can be found almost everywhere on The Sage, even on the thoughtful neo-ballad, "Shift of Color." While this may be a shift in direction from "Magenta" and the super-fast post-bop bomber "Crux," it's not an actual shift in color. There is a marvelous sense of immediacy on every track, as if Rigby detailed the grooves five minutes before the session and otherwise left everything to chance. "Tone Poem" is just that, with Rigby and Holober harmonizing and then creating a dizzying dialogue with Brown, while the hypnotic "Slip" swirls and slides as Holober lays down explosions of Rhodes that would make Herbie Hancock nod in approval.

Much of the anarchy comes from Cleaver, who is in his own private Idaho for most of the session; other than some nearly-straight timekeeping on the kinetic closer "Jealous Moon," Cleaver goes his own way throughout the date. He cuts a sizable swath on "Color," even on brushes, and his in-the-clear opening to the title track towers so high, Johnson's short solo figures make it seem like he doesn't want to interrupt. Johnson's overall tone dovetails perfectly with Rigby all the way through; Johnson keeps it open and anchored, while Rigby flirts with the same stratospheric heights Wayne Shorter explored with Miles.

The Sage gives purists something new to rail about: Not only does Jason Rigby revive music that presaged the recording Miles Haters love to hate, but Rigby and his partners do the job so extraordinarily well.


Track Listing: Magenta; Crux; Shift of Color; The Sage; Tone Poem; Slip; The Archer; Jealous Moon.

Personnel: Jason Rigby: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Mike Holober: Fender Rhodes; Cameron Brown: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Title: The Sage | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
One

One

Fresh Sound New Talent
2017

buy
One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio

One:...

Fresh Sound New Talent
2016

buy
The Sage

The Sage

Fresh Sound New Talent
2009

buy
The Sage

The Sage

Fresh Sound New Talent
2008

buy
Translucent Space

Translucent Space

Fresh Sound New Talent
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dream CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dream
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Months, Weeks and Days" CD/LP/Track Review Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Hunters & Scavengers" CD/LP/Track Review Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Remembranzas" CD/LP/Track Review Remembranzas
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Tradition" CD/LP/Track Review Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 13, 2017