262

Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown: Varmint

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown: Varmint Varmint is the sophomore follow up to Rolldown (482 Music, 2008), the self-titled debut of vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz's quintet. Inspired by the avant-garde innovations of such late 1960s Blue Note recording artists as Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Jackie McLean, and Grachan Moncur III, Adasiewicz continues to explore the tenuous divide between inside and outside forms, while gradually developing his own sound.

From supple kaleidoscopic shadings to ringing, metallic cascades, Adasiewicz's dynamic versatility as an improviser has made him a ubiquitous presence in the prolific Chicago jazz scene. His current side-man duties include work with Josh Berman's Old Idea, James Falzone's Klang, The Lucky 7's, Rob Mazurek's Quintet and Exploding Star Orchestra, and Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, among others.

Joined by a tight and responsive unit, his five year old ensemble features a formidable line-up. Cornetist Josh Berman and alto saxophonist Aram Shelton convey labyrinthine themes with a mixture of playful lyricism and pithy fervor as bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly effortlessly navigate fractured rhythms and vacillating tempos.

Though an exploratory late 1960s Blue Note vibe continues to permeate Adasiewicz's writing, his own originals have become more salient and distinctive. Eschewing a previous dependence on modal structures and rubato rhythms, most of these new compositions utilize unorthodox chord progressions, contrapuntal head melodies, angular intervals, odd meters, and irregular bar lengths for their structural foundation.

Only the knotty abstraction "Hide" and the moody tone poem "Punchbug" continue to embrace modal forms. Breaking from the Post-War vibe, Berman's coruscating brass smears on the former and Shelton's gnarled clarinet cadences on the later are distinctly modern in approach.

The title track, featuring a thorny but swinging theme, is indicative of Adasiewicz's newfound approach. Punctuated by blistering double time interludes from the rhythm section, the tune's vacillating meter inspires stirring solos from Berman, Adasiewicz and Shelton, who play to and against the shifting undercurrent. "Green Grass," similarly alternates a diaphanous melody with hypnotic ostinatos, fueling jagged statements from Shelton and the leader.

An air of ethereal introspection permeates the genteel ballad "I Hope She Is Awake," while "Dagger" evinces a moody noir atmosphere with a languid series of cubist chord progressions, allowing Roebke a rare, unaccompanied turn in the spotlight. The set culminates with a faithful rendition of Andrew Hill's "The Griots," bringing the session conceptually full circle.

An impressive follow-up to a solid debut, Varmint finds Adasiewicz growing as a composer and improviser, shedding his influences while discovering his voice.

Track Listing: Green Grass; Varmint; Dagger; Hide; I Hope She Is Awake; Punchbug; The Griots.

Personnel: Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Josh Berman: cornet; Aram Shelton: alto saxophone and clarinet; Jason Roebke: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Steam In The Casa" CD/LP/Track Review Steam In The Casa
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Makes My Heart Sway" CD/LP/Track Review Makes My Heart Sway
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.