All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Geof Bradfield: Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Since the early 2000s, saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield has been an integral part of the ever-fertile Chicago jazz scene, bringing his substantial talents to music that easily bridges the divide between the traditional and the avant-garde. His records have explored a remarkable range of styles and themes: from African Flowers (Origin Records, 2010), which traced the intersections between African folk forms and American jazz, to Melba! (Origin Records, 2013), Bradfield's tribute to trombonist/arranger Melba Liston, to Our Roots (Origin Records, 2015), a rollicking revisiting of the music of Leadbelly, Bradfield has shown his willingness to take inspiration from anywhere. Yes and...Music for Nine Improvisers may be his most ambitious yet. It is an eight-part suite with a larger ensemble, which allows for a wide range of harmonic and timbral possibilities, as well as more open-ended improvisational strategies.

With a nod to Bradfield's post-bop origins in the early 2000s, the album begins with just a trio on "Prelude": Bradfield on tenor, along with bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall. And it's a cooker, with Bradfield's athletic maneuvers, Hall's crackling drums and Sommers's insistent swing getting things moving. It's easy to get lost in the trio's firepower, forgetting that there are still six other musicians waiting their turn. But that's rectified on "In Flux," an aptly-titled, shape-shifting piece that offers rich ensemble parts to accentuate some potent solos from guitarist Scott Hesse, altoist Greg Ward and trumpeter Russ Johnson. Then we're back to a trio for "Chorale," only this time it's with different personnel, as trombonist Joel Adams joins with Johnson and the group's other trumpeter, Marquis Hill, for a somber, reflective piece that is both striking in its simplicity and malleable enough for the three to develop it subtly as it unfolds. And thus is set the trajectory of the suite: longer, more thoroughly-devised compositions that utilize the entire band are offset by briefer, less-structured interludes which give smaller subsets a chance to articulate their ideas more extemporaneously, in close collaboration.

One of the virtues of Bradfield's writing and arranging is his ability to work with such different musical temperaments. Players like Johnson and Anna Webber, figures usually associated with "out"-leaning ventures, are given room to do their thing, even though the music as a whole doesn't really scream "avant-garde." The long, winding piece "Anamneses" furnishes ample space for Webber's bass flute, as she offers an evocative, ruminative solo in conversation with both Adams and Hesse before Johnson joins the proceedings with a searing statement that traces an arc from searching wonder to a fiercely-burning intensity. But the group can also swing with the best of them, as on "Impossible Charms" both Hill and Adams provide in-the-pocket solos that showcase their impeccable bop bona fides.

The record's closer, "Forro Hermeto," is really the ideal finish, as it lets each of the players bring their distinctive voice and personality to the mix. It's a Brazilian-flavored number with a danceable groove, with solo chances and vigorous back-and-forth by all; and the collective energy all nine musicians create is a testament to the cohesive spirit Bradfield has generated on this splendid album.

Track Listing: Prelude; In Flux; Chorale; Impossible Charms: Ostinato; Anamneses; Chaconne; Forro Hermeto.

Personnel: Geof Bradfield: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Anna Webber: flute and bass flute, tenor saxophone; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Russ Johnson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joel Adams: trombone; Scott Hesse: electric and classical guitars; Clark Sommers: acoustic bass; Dana Hall: drums and percussion.

Title: Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Central Avenue

Central Avenue

Geof Bradfield
Melba!

Urban Nomad

Urban Nomad

Geof Bradfield
Urban Nomad

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers

Yes, and...Music for...

Delmark Records
2018

buy
Birdhoused

Birdhoused

Cellar Live
2017

buy
Our Roots

Our Roots

Origin Records
2015

buy
Melba!

Melba!

Origin Records
2013

buy
African Flowers

African Flowers

Origin Records
2010

buy
Urban Nomad

Urban Nomad

Origin Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Why Not CD/LP/Track Review
Why Not
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Together CD/LP/Track Review
Together
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review
Presence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Blood CD/LP/Track Review
Blood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2018
Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Turned into Lemonade" CD/LP/Track Review Turned into Lemonade
by Matt Hooke
Published: September 2, 2018
Read "Wobbly Dance Flower" CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Dance Flower
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Chris May
Published: August 25, 2018
Read "Peaks of Light" CD/LP/Track Review Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Enso" CD/LP/Track Review Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018