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Album Review

Justin Chart: The Scarlet Jazz Room

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Justin Chart: The Scarlet Jazz Room
Justin Chart is an award winning singer-songwriter and an accomplished jazz saxophonist. On his spontaneously created pieces Chart often collaborates with a rotating cast of like-minded sidemen. The resulting music is as sophisticated and intricately structured as carefully notated compositions. Chart, once again, showcases his unique artistic approach with the cinematic and enchanting The Scarlet Jazz Room.

Chart's unaccompanied, soulful alto opens "Shape of My Shade." As the four piece rhythm section enters, the piece simmers with passion. Chart's serpentine lines meander with a suave swagger through the band's darkly hued refrains driven b drummer Matt Lesser. Pianist Sam Ross, lays down crystalline cascades of notes that conjure up an ambience of late night bars that Raymond Chandler's private eye Philip Marlowe may have frequented.

A similarly noir-ish mood prevails on "Through Reticent Windows." Pianist Ben Dabiri and Chart open the track with a lyrical duet. The former then launches into an elegant and emotive extemporization that bassist Ryan Roberts and drummer Adam Denham support with their sparse beats. Further enhancing the dramatic atmosphere is trumpeter Mike Rocha's muted horn.

On "With Passion and Wonder" Rocha and Chart swap inventive improvisations while pianist Chris Potter and bassist Johnny Hatton build a laid back groove. Chart's yearning saxophone follows and mirrors Potter's contemplative piano while Rocha's burnished tones glide over Hatton's reverberations.

Another pianist, Bob Remstein, starts off "An Answer of Balance" with shimmering chords. Chart blows yearning, fiery notes as Copic bows out an emotive melody. Rocha's Latin-hued trumpet is evocative of mellow, burning sunsets. Roberts and drummer Danny Beallo anchor and propel the performance with their percolating vamps.

This imaginative album plays like a film soundtrack. The individual narratives associated with its nine parts are left up to each listener's fancy. The fact that this entirely improvised and intimate work feels so personal, not only to Chart but also his audience, is testament to Chart's musicianship.

Track Listing

An Answer Of Balance; The Gallant Game; Through Reticent Windows; Knowing Pleasure Is Flowing; Eros At Eventide; Ever My Knight; With Passion And Wonder; Shape Of My Shade; A Jazz Life.

Personnel

Justin Chart: saxophone, alto; Mike Rocha: trumpet; Ryan Roberts: bass; Danny Beallo: drums; Bill Markus: bass; Sam Ross: piano; Matt Lesser: drums; Johnny Hatton: bass.

Additional Instrumentation

Jernej Copic: cello; Bob Remstein: piano; Ben Dabiri: piano; Adam Denham: drums; Chris Potter: piano; Justin Chart : voices (8).

Album information

Title: The Scarlet Jazz Room | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Universal Music Group


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