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Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet: The Sound Of Listening

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Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet: The Sound Of Listening
There is something tantalisingly out of reach on the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet's The Sound Of Listening. It is not "difficult" music, but it is cryptic. After multiple replays the code remains unbroken. It seems something important is going on but... what exactly? It is rather like encountering Guiliana's fellow New Yorker, tenor saxophonist Oded Tzur for the first time. The music is not alien, but there is something deeply different about it.

Coincidentally, Guiliana's pianist on this, the Jazz Quartet's first album since 2017, is Shai Maestro, once a member of Tzur's band. Maestro was replaced by Fabian Almazan on the Jazz Quartet's second album, Jersey (Motema, 2017), but he was the pianist on the group's debut, Family First (Beat Music, 2015), whose lineup—completed by bassist Chris Morrissey and tenor saxophonist Jason Rigby—returns for The Sound Of Listening. Everybody except Morrissey doubles on other instruments. Maestro mainly plays acoustic piano, but adds mellotron, Ampli-Celeste (another electromechanical vintage keyboard) and Fender Rhodes. Rigby mainly plays tenor saxophone, but adds bass clarinet, clarinet and flute. Guiliana plays regular drums, synthesizers and percussion.

With Tzur, the musical code is easy to break: it is jazz played through the paradigm of classical Indian raga, led by a saxophonist whose primary formative influence was the great Dexter Gordon. Once one gets that, one gets everything. With Guiliana it is not so simple. There is something about the beats, something about the sonic palette, something about the way the group interacts. There is a bit of minimalism, a bit of classical contemporary, a bit of electronica. There is gentle lyricism and there is urgency, sometimes both on the same track. All of this combines to take the music elsewhere. But... where exactly?

The best art, be it visual or musical, is often above and beyond verbal description or cognitive analysis. What you see, or what you hear, is what you get. If it feels good, take it on trust—and Guiliana, if for no other reason than he wears a lapel badge bearing a photo of John Coltrane on his jacket, is to be trusted. Best to let go and enjoy The Sound Of Listening for what it is: compelling, mysterious jazz.

Track Listing

The Path To Bliss; The Most Important Question; A Way Of Looking; Our Essential Nature; The Courage To Be Free; Everything Changed After You Left; The Sound Of Listening; Under The Influence; Practicing Silence; Continuation.

Personnel

Mark Guiliana: drums; Chris Morrissey: bass, acoustic; Shai Maestro: piano; Jason Rigby: saxophone, tenor.

Additional Instrumentation

Mark Guiliana: drums, synthesizers (3, 5, 7), drum programming (7), percussion (10); Chris Morrissey: bass; Shai Maestro: piano, mellotron (1, 5, 7), Ampli-celeste (1, 5, 7), Fender Rhodes (2); Jason Rigby: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet (1, 3, 5, 7), clarinet (1, 5), flute (5).

Album information

Title: The Sound Of Listening | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Edition Records


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