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

  • Hide
    Hide
    Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown
    Varmint
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Bobby Hutcherson Bobby Hutcherson
vibraphone
Henry Grimes Henry Grimes
bass, acoustic
James Zollar James Zollar
trumpet
Mike Reed Mike Reed
drums
Don Thompson Don Thompson
multi-instrumentalist
Bob Lark Bob Lark
trumpet
Orbert Davis Orbert Davis
trumpet
Jamie Fox Jamie Fox
guitar
Diego Rivera Diego Rivera
saxophone
Mark Buselli Mark Buselli
trumpet

More Articles

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 TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Amiira" CD/LP/Track Review Amiira
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987" CD/LP/Track Review Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
by John Kelman
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Colosseum Live" CD/LP/Track Review Colosseum Live
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Perihelion" CD/LP/Track Review Perihelion
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Northern Adventures" CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017

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!