161

Edward Simon: Unicity

By

Sign in to view read count
Edward Simon, John Patitucci and Brian Blade did a few magical things on a 2003 album under Patitucci's name (Songs, Stories and Spirituals, Concord). At the time these three musicians decided that they ought to get together and do, well, what they do well here. After a minute's "Invocation," they're jamming heartily on Patitucci's "The Messenger," as if they'd met up overjoyed at three in the morning and were so accomplished they could do everything unbridled without disturbing a neighbour.

Simon's "Abiding Unicity" has an almost concert-room theme statement from Patitucci on bowed bass, and amazing impressionistic playing from the pianist, rising to the dramatic climax(es), and floating in the midst of calm sections. There's a sense of nobody having cared to make this too tidy a performance—it was spontaneous. Spontaneous is also the word for the empathic playing on Dave Binney's "Gavriasoloas," at slow-medium tempo and full of ideas and expression. Simon does not believe in just playing notes, he phrases, attacks, and means what he plays. To call Brian Blade's drumming magnificent is only fair.

Listen to the bassist solo on Simon's (I suppose cryptically titled) "The Midst of Chaos": joyous, like the pianist's subsequent trading of fours with the drummer. This splendid hard bop composition, played with a lot of colour, is followed by a prelude from the Catalan composer Frederic Mompou (1893-1987) with an alteration of time signature. Where some less than first-rate jazz pianists can stray into dull concert playing on ballads, Simon shares the capacity of the early stride pianists to stay in touch with both, even the several sides of his inspiration—and animation.

His "Pathless Path" echoes Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and also John Lewis's "Django," somewhere between the two, and then the pianist gets to accompany the front-line solo guitar Patitucci makes of his bass instrument on "Evolution": a naughty man, Patitucci, with those flamenco chords that nearly push the performance over the verge of out-of-tune then seem to set the pianist off in an inspired rush of solo inspiration. If Simon's "Evolution" is rather similar to his "Pathless Path," that's all to the good. The effect's cumulative, if in a different way from "Eastern," where the piano begins with a sort of Latin American rhapsody until the other guys' influence switches things oriental, taking the music about as far from mainstream jazz as Duke Ellington's Far East Suite.

This is very consistent music-making and through and through jazz—any reference to other music is just something more. No chameleons here, and the reprise of "Abiding Unicity" is just like three guys come back on stage for an encore to celebrate.

Visit Edward Simon and John Patitucci on the web.


Track Listing: Invocation; The Messenger; Abiding Unicity; Gevriasolas; The Midst Of Chaos; Prelude N.9; Pathless Path; Evolution; Eastern; Abiding Unicity (Reprise).

Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; John Patitucci: bass, electric bass; Brian Blade: drums.

Title: Unicity | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: CAM Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Platinum on Tap" CD/LP/Track Review Platinum on Tap
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Still" CD/LP/Track Review Still
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Of Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Of Tides
by John Eyles
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.