Apparent in the Brooklyn-based East West Quintet's Vast is the way the music teeters between colors, tunes, dynamics, rhythms and abstractions. Varying degrees of crescendos and decrescendos transform the mixtures of melodic temperament from peaceful to anthem-like, from quickly paced to mellifluously slow. That the band members play a multiplicity of different instruments is crucial; they take turns weaving solos throughout the pieces to grow textures that have highs, lows and indisputable middle ground. Except for trumpeter Phil Rodriguez, featured on the first two tracks, and drummer Jordan Perlson, saxophonist Dylan Heaney, guitarist Simon Kafka, pianist Mike Cassedy and bassist Benjamin Campbell composed the music.
The integration of drums, piano, keyboards and guitar is a graceful one, with penetrating tonality. The piano/drum darkness often evokes emotion that falls into the realm of the blues. When a vibe sound creeps in, midway through the record, lightness abounds, beginning a transition into a series of musical statements that examine voices particular to the piano, sax and guitar. The drums act as the core to the music, taking off in flurries or remaining rhythmically steadfast behind repeated synchronized choruses or tuneful individual displays from the other instruments. The layering is clearly detectable. For that reason, the music loops, twirls, sings and drives through a strangely syncopated terrain that is Vast but not intractable.
Track Listing: The Triumph; Catalyst; Vast - Pt. 1; Vast - Pt. 2; Over the Falls;
Comet; Daffodil 11; View from Above; Gangster Rap; Brooklyn.
Personnel: Dylan Heaney: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Simon Kafka:
guitar; Mike Cassedy: piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer; Benjamin
Campbell: acoustic bass, electric bass; Jordan Perlson: drums,
percussion; Phil Rodriguez: trumpet (1, 2).
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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