3

Jason Robinson: Tiresian Symmetry

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Robinson: Tiresian Symmetry Composer and reed player Jason Robinson tends to weave his musical projects with multiple and overlapping narrative layers, and Tiresian Symmetry is no different. It is more ambitious than his previous large ensemble project, The Two Faces of Janus (Cuneiform, 2010), but still draws inspiration from Greek mythology. This time he was inspired by the mythical story of ancient soothsayer Tiresias, who lived seven lifetimes and, after a fateful series of encounters with copulating snakes, switched genders and then back again.

Robinson uses this story to explore the numerical relationship of seven (the lifetimes of Tiresias) and two (the male and female genders of this mythological prophet—the completing opposites), through asymmetric and contrapuntal structures of melody, harmony and rhythm. Interestingly, Robinson's ensemble instrumentation and arrangements draw inspiration from the influential Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus ensemble of the early nineties, with its double-tuba configuration.

Luckily, this elaborate intellectual background does not burden the music. Robinson's richly nuanced, storytelling compositions are full of freedom, flexibility, inventiveness and humor. These compositions are performed brilliantly by a stellar cast of nine forward-thinking musicians, including reed player Marty Ehrlich, guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Drew Gress and drummer George Schuller, who also played on The Two Faces of Janus.

"Stratum 3," "Radiate" and "Saros" cleverly uses former Threadgill's band mates—tubaists Marcus Rojas and Bill Lowe, along with reed player J.D. Parran and Ellman, to create similarly playful and densely textured music, through propulsive and shifting meters and the inventive pairing of the soloing musicians. The title piece is structured around a hard-swinging groove, rooted by Gress' muscular playing (who also adds an inspired solo), enabling the horn players to soar freely. Robinson's emotional solo sax piece, "Elbow Grease Introduction," outlines the thick narrative for the whole on "Elbow Grease." Gress and Ellman serve as rhythmic catalysts that push the band over the metrically shifting and changing lead roles of "Corduroy." The closing "Cosmolographie" begins with a gentle duet between Robinson and Gress, but soon transforms into a colorful and balanced texture with the whole band, while Robinson and Gress continue nourishing their dense interplay.

Beautiful, inspiring set of expansive compositions.


Track Listing: Stratum 3; Tiresian Symmetry; Radiate; Saros; Elbow Grease; Introduction; Elbow Grease; Corduroy; Cosmolographie.

Personnel: Jason Robinson: tenor sax, alto flute, soprano sax; JD Parran: alto clarinet, contra bass clarinet, tenor sax; Marty Ehrlich: alto sax, bass clarinet, flute; Marcas Rojas: tuba; Bill Lowe: tuba, bass trombone; Liberty Ellman: guitar; Drew Gress: bass; George Schuller: drums; Ches Smith: drums, glockenspiel.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Everyone Is Everyone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Everyone Is Everyone Else
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "The Meeting" CD/LP/Track Review The Meeting
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Euro Swing Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Euro Swing Vol. 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!