405

Chris Massey: Vibrainium

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Chris Massey: Vibrainium A tight, two horn front-line, strong solo personalities, an aggressive—yet flexible—rhythm section and first-rate compositions are all part of the package on drummer Chris Massey's Vibrainium. From the first notes of the album-opening "Galactus" to the end of "Mr. Twilight," Massey demonstrates a take-no-prisoners attitude and a willingness to explore different avenues of music with great attention to detail and a good balance between explosive, raw energy and musical restraint.

The aforementioned "Galactus" starts off with a rim-dominated, high-energy groove in seven, melding with David Ostrem's catchy bass line. This provides an exciting rhythmic undercurrent as the horn players move through the head. Pianist Evgeny Lebedev leads the parade of soloists and trumpeter Donald Malloy follows. Malloy starts off with some oddly angular lines and bent notes in the lower register, building power as his solo continues. Saxophonist Benjamin Drazen brings some fire into the music—as the band shifts gears and moves to a swing feel in four—but the familiar bass riff returns before Massey dives into his Elvin Jones-influenced, avalanche-of-a-solo.

While Malloy's "Smooth" is a calmer ride, it never comes close to the glossy style of music bearing its name. A relaxed swing feel dominates this song but the intensity returns for an explosive trio take on Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge." Massey's muscular, up-tempo swing eggs Drazen on and, though Ostrem solos with great skill and provides solid rhythmic support, the most exciting moments occur when it's just drums and saxophone. "Chango"—a short tom solo with a tribal-vibe to it—is in the spirit of Art Blakey's African-rooted solo drum work. While this brief episode cleanses the palette and demonstrates another side of Massey's personality, he isn't one to hog the spotlight and Chick Corea's "Windows" is a showcase for Lebedev's piano work.

Lebedev's piano lines and Massey's subtle cymbal work come together in a hypnotic fashion on the title track. While most of the soloists build from a calm state to a more turbulent place of personal expression—underscored with a crescendo of cymbal explosions from Massey—a moody cloud of sound still manages to hover over "Vibrainium." Drazen's brazen soprano work overlaps with Malloy's trumpet when the song reaches its apex of intensity but the band quickly dials things down near songs end. Drazen's "Mr. Twilight"—a fast, swinging vehicle with a fantastic piano solo from Lebedev—ends with the same burning musical passion that's displayed at nearly every moment on Vibrainium.


Track Listing: Galactus; Smooth; Inner Urge; Chango; Windows; Vibrainium; Mr. Twilight.

Personnel: Donald Malloy: trumpet; Benjamin Drazen: alto saxophone and soprano saxophone; Evgeny Lebedev: piano; David Ostrem: bass; Chris Massey: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

  • Galactus
    Galactus
    Chris Massey's Nue Jazz Project
    Vibrainium
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
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 "Live in Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Concert
by David Becker
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Instant Oats" CD/LP/Track Review Instant Oats
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Clockwork" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwork
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "A Tribute to Herbie +1" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Herbie +1
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "Bridges From The East" CD/LP/Track Review Bridges From The East
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016

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!