213

Rob Wagner / Hamid Drake / Nobu Ozaki: Trio

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Rob Wagner / Hamid Drake / Nobu Ozaki: Trio With time to reflect on the Katrina tragedy, jazz artists with ties to New Orleans have been emerging to tell their stories. Kidd Jordan, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Kali Z. Fasteau, James "Blood" Ulmer and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are among those who have committed their concerns to tape. Accompanied by drummer Hamid Drake and bassist Nobu Ozaki, saxophonist (and New Orleans native) Rob Wagner delivers his own take on the event.

As a creative modernist with regular gigs in the Big Easy, Wagner's mere presence invalidates the prevailing stereotype of New Orleans as nothing more than a bastion of jazz traditionalism. While Wagner has favored the trio format over the years, this is his first session with Drake and Ozaki.

Wagner's aesthetic skirts the craggy extremism of free jazz without ever falling headlong into the abyss. Stretching meters and phrases on his array of horns, he employs myriad effects and extended techniques with expressive vocal intensity.

Favoring his stout, dark-toned tenor, Wagner's inventive phrasing incorporates flutter tongue effects, false fingerings, multiphonics and trills, all augmenting the harmonic conception of his animated statements. His soprano work is vigorous, but not histrionic. On clarinet, he occasionally invokes the Hassidic linearity of his other regular gig, The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, while plying a shadowy, mysterious tone.

Drake's mesmerizing harmonic permutations are essential foundations for the trio, whether summoning invigoratingly tuneful phrases on a traditional drum kit or generating hypnotic ethnic patterns on frame drum. His interaction with Ozaki is similar to his work with his closest associate, bassist William Parker. Ozaki proves a worthy partner, parrying Drake's complex polyrhythms with a sinewy, melodic foundation and a spry capacity for modulating tempos.

From the reserved bluesy meditation of "Plutino," the swirling exotic travelogue "Where Is Home?" and the roiling free bop of "Shock, Awe, Shame" to the supple balladry of "La Madrugada" and the abstruse funk of "Childhood Memory," the trio explores a mix of post bop influenced styles and genres with a colorful, nuanced palette. Despite the tragedy it recalls, this trio effort is another winning document of the continuing viability of New Orleans.

Visit Rob Wagner on the web.


Track Listing: Desoparia (They handed out $12 billion in cash in Iraq and couldn't even give New Orleans drinking water); Plutino; Where Is Home?; Shock, Awe, Shame; Childhood Memory; La Madrugada; Freedumb (Aren't you glad to vote in America?); Penumbria.

Personnel: Rob Wagner: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Hamid Drake: drum kit, frame drum; Nobu Ozaki: bass.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Valid Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Burning Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Burning Ghosts
by Troy Collins
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Night Music" CD/LP/Track Review Night Music
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!