Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Listening Booth: Mario Pavone, Rodrigo Amado & more

Started writing these a few weeks ago, but held the post back until I got to at least five write-ups. Sadly, things have prevented me from writing more here, and as I had hoped to put 2010 on the shelf come the end of January, I'll just post the ones I managed to write now, with a few more records below with only the (tentative) grades added. My apologies to both the artists and potential readers.

  • Mario Pavone Orange Double Tenor: Arc Suite t/pi t/po (Playscape Rec.) - Veteran bassist and composer Mario Pavone has a knack for writing twisting and twirling themes, but always with a solid sense of propulsion, most often provided by his own bass work. This time around he gets a lot of assistance from pianist Peter Madsen in that department. Long time associate Tony Malaby plays tenor and soprano, Jimmy Greene also plays tenor, and together with trumpet player Dave Ballou they explore the interwoven melodies. The always reliable Gerard Cleaver plays drums, while Steven Bernsein assists with slide trumpet on one track. The music is slightly jagged but equally sure footed and rhythmically engaging, 'though at times perhaps a bit too restrained. I was actually at more than one time reminded of some of the early George Russell compositions, perhaps because of some of the shared duties by the bass and the piano. Not quite as good as Deez To Blues or Ancestors (both on Playscape), but still enjoyable (6/10) *
  • Rodrigo Amado, Kent Kessler & Paal Nilsen-Love: The Abstract Truth (European Echoes, 2008) - A trio date with Kent Kessler on bass and Paal Nilsen-Love on drums, Amado playing tenor and baritone saxophone. With Kessler (Vandermark 5 and others) and Nilssen-Love you'll get both hard swing and some solid punch, which is exactly what they provide here, complementing Amado's deep sound, who swivels around the rough'n'tumble rhythms with gruffs, riffs or spurts of melodic ideas, every now and then slowing things down, which leaves us with some welcome breathers. The album is not very heavy on melodic themes, though, so some of the numbers seem to glide into the next, separated more by changes in tempo or mood than anything else. That said, the tough "Universe Unmasked" is a highlight, with deep, rumbeling bass vamps that release more driving sections, Amado huffing and puffing on baritone. (7/10)*
  • Rodrigo Amado, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Hébert & Gerald Cleaver: Searching For Adam (Not Two, 2010) - This quartet recording was apparently at least partly inspired New York and the traffic of cities. There is a lot of ebb and flow -- quiet and loud, organized and free -- in the music here, so that makes sense to me. Amado plays more melodically here, while Ho Bynum (trumpet) brings in the more abstract elements, as Hébert (bass) and Cleaver (drums) keeps things moving along nicely. (7/10)*
Note: Rodrigo Amado was recently a guest on Jason Crane's The Jazz Sessions. Go listen!
I also received a third release by Amado, Motion Trio (European Echoes, 2009), with Miguel Mira on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums, but I have not gotten around to play it more than once yet, so I'll refrain from writing anything on it here.
  • Jason Adasiewicz with Mike Reed and Nate McBride: Sun Rooms (Delmark) 7 *
  • Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth: Deluxe (Clean Feed, 2010) 7
  • Lisa Mezzacappa Bait & Switch: What Is Known (Clean Feed, 2010) 7*
  • Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys: Betweenwhile (AUM Fidelity) 7 *
  • Jason Moran: Ten (Blue Note, 2010) 6*
Addendum: I've written a lot about the Moran record in various posts on the blog previously, and there's no point in repeating all of it. There is no doubting Moran's talent, I just happen to find his musical ideas and themes fairly uninteresting, especially here (I like Black Stars quite a lot, though). Also, though I don't hold the following against Moran, it deserves a mention: The fact that Tom Hull apparently got stick for not appreciating the record enough after the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll was announced, which Ten won in a landslide, says a lot about the state of a section of the modern jazz audience as well. To them, Moran is the new leading star; the John Coltrane or Miles Davis of his generation. Fact is, though, jazz was never just about Coltrane or Davis. It was and will always be much, much more than those two, just as the jazz of 2010 was much more than Moran.

* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.

1 comment:

Jason Crane | thejazzsession.com said...

Thanks for the link to The Jazz Session! I'll also note that Mario was on the show in 2010, too, talking about Arc Suite:


All the best,


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