5

Julian Shore: Where We Started

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Julian Shore: Where We Started
A pianist of uncommon sensitivity and graceful temperament, Julian Shore crafts music with atmosphere and feeling, aiming for emotional depth rather than settling for typical jazz devices. On Where We Started, his third release, he offers eight well-honed tracks which are both evocative and nuanced; while they might not win over the uninitiated in a crowded club, they offer plenty of introspective delights to listeners prepared to settle in with the music.

Joined by a fine ensemble, Shore has the resources he needs to establish the prevailing mood. Like Shore, saxophonist Dayna Stephens has terrific technique but he keeps it in check, with an empathetic tone which is quite striking, especially on the slower numbers. His gorgeous playing on George Gershwin's "Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess," one of the album's three non-Shore compositions, is a highlight. Stephens appeared on Shore's previous release, Which Way Now? (Tone Rogue Records, 2016), and he clearly grasps the logic of Shore's approach. So too does drummer Colin Stranahan, another sideman on Which Way Now?, whose subtlety and gently surging dynamics undergird these expansive pieces. Bassist Edward Perez and guitarist Ben Monder also play crucial roles in the band; fans of Monder's work with Maria Schneider or on his own releases will instantly appreciate the texture and ambience he provides.

At the heart of the album are four landscape-based pieces. "Preludio" ushers in the music with an impressionistic opening from Shore, before Monder's guitar enhances the theme, and alto saxophonist Caroline Davis accentuates the track's power with a tenacious solo. Next come "Winds, Currents" and "Tunnels, Speed," each of which conveys the motion and sweep of Shore's music. Monder infuses the latter track with some extra adrenaline as he stretches out on a rangy solo with a jagged edge. Stephens takes an especially strong turn on the fourth part of the series, "Marshes, Amphibians," transitioning from his trademark delicacy into a progressively urgent voice as the piece unfolds.

As richly-hued as these pieces are, one might quibble whether additional electronics are a help or a hindrance; Stephens' use of EWI on some of the tracks, and Shore's own synthesizer work on "Nemesis," can at times become a bit cloying. But, for the most part, this thoughtful and skillfully-played music effectively conjures sentiment without sliding into sentimentality.

Track Listing

I: Preludio; II: Winds, Currents; III: Tunnels, Speed; O Vos Omnes; Nemesis; IV: Marshes, Amphibians; Oh Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess; Where We Started.

Personnel

Julian Shore: piano; Dayna Stephens: saxophone, tenor; Ben Monder: guitar; Caroline Davis: saxophone; Edward Perez: bass; Colin Stranahan: drums; Oded Tzur: saxophone, tenor.

Album information

Title: Where We Started | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Tone Rogue Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read When You Find It
When You Find It
Arthur White and Merge
Read Rainbow Baby
Rainbow Baby
Cathlene Pineda
Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane
Read Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah!
The Claire Daly Band
Read Artlessly Falling
Artlessly Falling
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Read Hi-Fly
Hi-Fly
Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Read And Then It Rained
And Then It Rained
The Michael O'Neill Quartet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.