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...

335

Vinnie Sperrazza & Matt Blostein: Ursa Minor

By

Sign in to view read count
The Vinnie Sperrazza/Matt Blostein Band sits boldly on the outer branches of the jazz tree. This group specializes in what might be described as art-house, a style defined by complex, cutting edge compositions and arrangements played at perfect pitch. Ursa Minor displays a balanced and impressive combination of color and substance.

These tunes, penned by alto saxophonist Blostein or drummer Sperrazza (and in the case of "Liftoff," both) are poetic in structure, unfolding slowly to reveal a wealth of layers and textures, each one giving the fine musicians on board space to weave their rich tapestries of sound. Pianist Jamie Reynolds' deep blue single-note highlights and Khabu Young's guitar amply support Bryan Drye's thoughtful, articulate trombone on "Color Red." The title cut, a piano-less quartet piece, is a slow burn that develops gradually around Blostein's appropriately moody alto and Young's edgy, persistent licks. Young and pianist Jacob Sacks' delightfully fractured duet on "Hey Jax" sounds like a playful riff on free jazz; Thomas Morgan's pizzicato on this tune is sotto voce almost to the point of being subliminal. The compelling "Juniper Tree" sounds like free jazz and straight-ahead arm wrestling for dominance, with tenor man Mike McGinnis and Sperrazza leading the charge.

Even when stripped down to its essentials, as on the Blostein/Morgan/Sperrazza trio tune "Liftoff," the sound is just as compelling. Jazz is clearly the irresistible force at the core of this band, but it's their deep sense of musical heritage and willingness to explore, challenge and transform genres, that gives this excellent group its singular voice and vibrancy.

Track Listing: Color Red; Ursa Minor; Kuleet Enpark; Hey Jax; Liftoff; Triangle; The Juniper Tree.

Personnel: Matt Blostein: alto sax; Mike McGinnis: tenor sax; Brian Drye: trombone; Khabu Young: guitar; Jamie Reynolds: piano; Geoff Kraly: electric bass; Thomas Morgan: bass; Vinnie Sperrazza: drums.

Title: Ursa Minor | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Envoi Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Hide Ye Idols

Hide Ye Idols

Loyal Label
2017

buy
Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition

Posi-Tone Records
2017

buy
Apocryphal

Apocryphal

Loyal Label
2014

buy
Peak Inn

Peak Inn

Fresh Sound New Talent
2009

buy
Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor

Envoi Recordings
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Od Ponedelnik CD/LP/Track Review
Od Ponedelnik
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Coast to Crossroads CD/LP/Track Review
Coast to Crossroads
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2018
Read Body CD/LP/Track Review
Body
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 13, 2018
Read "Challenger Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Challenger Deep
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 15, 2018
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "The Asylum Years" CD/LP/Track Review The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "The Bat Swings!" CD/LP/Track Review The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Moving Day" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "Faustian Pact" CD/LP/Track Review Faustian Pact
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 28, 2018