Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

95

Arrive: There Was...

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Arrive: There Was... A longtime fixture of the fertile Chicago jazz scene, Aram Shelton's relocation to Oakland, California has not diminished the alto saxophonist's presence among his peers in the Windy City. Courtesy of a rigorous touring schedule, Shelton maintains memberships in numerous ensembles, including Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown, the collective ensemble Fast Citizens, and Arrive, his quartet with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy—three of Chicago's finest improvisers.

Recorded in 2008 after a two week tour of the East coast, There Was... is the quartet's third album, following Live at Elastic (Single Speed Music, 2008) and their 2005 self-titled debut on 482 Music. Originally founded in 2001, the group's practiced rapport is manifest in fluid interchanges and seamless transitions that lend the intricate structures underlying Shelton's complex writing a casual sense of clarity. Although Shelton's tuneful post-bop readily evokes the adventurous 1960s-era Blue Note recordings of such luminaries as Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill and Bobby Hutcherson, Shelton and company transcend stylistic preconceptions with a modernistic spin on the tradition. A judicious use of melodic counterpoint, intervallic themes and shifting time signatures provide these compositions with an expansive dynamic range and bracing vitality unique to their time.

Shelton's nimble cadences reveal a pliant tone that veers from plangent to strident. His serpentine phrasing enhances the soulful ardor of lyrical motifs while instilling a commanding fluency to his more abstract excursions, which include bristling chromatic trills and vocalized ululations. From supple kaleidoscopic shadings to ringing metallic cascades, Adasiewicz's versatility has made him omnipresent in the Chicago jazz scene; his harmonic audacity makes him a perfect foil for Shelton's unfettered explorations. The rhythm section gracefully negotiates fractured rhythms and vacillating tempos with swinging aplomb, while making strong individual statements themselves—such as Roebke's expansive rumination at the center of "Golden," or Daisy's rousing drum-line inspired coda on "Frosted."

The quartet's commitment to organic development and narrative detail is exemplified by the episodic "Lost" and the closer, "Golden," which slowly build from balladic musings to ardent finales. The former tune modulates from pointillist call-and-response to a bracing 6/8 vamp as Roebke and Daisy underscore the billowy sustain of Adasiewicz's double-mallet attack, providing a locomotive undercurrent for the leader's architecturally concise solo. Ascending to a fevered pitch, Shelton unleashes a compounding array of coiled variations, driven by Daisy's rigorous downbeats and Roebke's elastic ostinato, that culminates in a thrilling climax of rock-like intensity. "Golden" follows a similar arc, trading pneumatic precision for a nebulous maelstrom of expressionistic drama.

Alternating angular bop melodies and lilting swing motifs with languid noir blues impressionism and aleatoric introspection, Arrive navigates a multi-hued panorama of sound. Drawing inspiration from past masters while moving headlong into the future, There Was... offers an adventurous yet accessible variation on the jazz tradition, demonstrating Shelton's subtly innovative take on historical antecedents.


Track Listing: There Was...; Cradle; Lost; Fifteen; Frosted; Golden.

Personnel: Aram Shelton: alto saxophone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Jason Roebke: double bass; Tim Daisy: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear Completely)" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear Completely)
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "What Doesn’t Kill You" CD/LP/Track Review What Doesn’t Kill You
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!