All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

8

Griffith Hiltz Trio: This Is What You Get

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Groovy, somewhat off-kilter jazz is the order of the day for the Griffith Hiltz Trio, a young Canadian band comprised of reedman Johnny Griffith, multi-instrumentalist Nathan Hiltz, and drummer Sly Juhas. One novel aspect of their music is tied into the group's instrumentation. Hiltz simultaneously plays guitar while holding down the bass lines using pedals, just like an organist would on the Hammond B-3. The trio's music is not quite the funk-fest one might surmise, given the players' youth. For the most part, the trio eschews lengthy, dissonant, open-ended compositions in favor of compact, intensely melodic creations that belie a wry sense of humor.

Both saxophonist Griffith and guitarist Hiltz are economical players whose melodic improvisational approach comes from the pre-fusion / pre-free jazz era. Hiltz' sparkling, percussive guitar style owes as much to 20th Century icons such as Chet Atkins, Danny Gatton, and Jim Hall as it does to any number of present-day jazz guitar stylists. It's as much of a surprise when he goes for some gnarly distortion on the title track, as it is when he whips out a banjo for his solo on "Strawman." Griffith has an easygoing, mellow sound that owes much to players such as Paul Desmond. "The Rainbow Connection" proves Griffith to be an extremely fine bass clarinetist, with a rich, dark sound. Sly Juhas' drumming is right in the pocket; never too busy but never too passive.

In addition to their obvious appreciation for older jazz styles, made plain on the boppish "Steppin' Out," odd-meter rhythms crop up on "MGM," and "Port Hillford Railway." The latter is particularly interesting, with thematic material that alternates Hiltz' Mahavishnu-like arpeggios with Griffith's mellow alto. The album's most adventurous track,"The Kuleshascope," sandwiches breezy, melodic bebop passages between slabs of sludgy, dissonant rock. "Bone Arm" floats a lonely saxophone melody over a gently pulsing up-tempo rhythm, broken up by a few bars of odd time and an unexpected , acrobatic sax- drums improvisation. "For Otis" is a sweet, simple funk tune, while "Strawman" is an artful negotiation between swing and backbeat. However, the most remarkable thing about This Is What You Get is the trio's knack for consistently coming up with strong, hummable melodies.

Track Listing: Strawman; The Kuleshascope; For Otis; MGM; Steppin' Out; Bone Arm; Port Hillford Railway; This is What You Get; The Rainbow Connection; Movie Theme--Condor and Squid.

Personnel: Johnny Griffith: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Nathan Hiltz: electric guitar, bass pedals; Sly Juhas: drums.

Title: This Is What You Get | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Tribute to Bobby" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Bobby
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Last Minute Panic" CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Vanished Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Vanished Gardens
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 27, 2018
Read "Gnosis" CD/LP/Track Review Gnosis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Time Remembered: Standards and Other Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Time Remembered: Standards and Other Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 24, 2018
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017