Aug 8 2014
Tiny Reviews edition!
Featuring: Leslie Pintchik In the Nature of Things, DC Improvisers Collective In the Gloam of the Anthropocene, and Mike Parker’s Unified Theory Embrace the Wild.
Leslie Pintchik – In the Nature of Things
A vibrant sextet session from pianist Leslie Pintchik, on an album that betrays a heavy presence despite its easy-going exterior. In the Nature of Things is one of those recordings that sounds suspiciously introspective even as it bops right along at a brisk pace and with a light touch.
But that’s not to say there’s a surfeit of brooding melancholia here. The track “I’d Turn Back If I Were You” comes out swinging, and the mid-tempo “Sparkle” adds some sunny rays via sax and trumpet, as well as the ever-present chatter of percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. And it’s Takeishi’s nifty articulation in a support role that gives the album an extra boost of personality. And on the subject of support roles, saxophonist Steve Wilson contributes some nice solos, but it’s his accompaniment when Pintchik is leading the way that really leads to some shining moments.
When it all shakes out, though, it’s tunes such as “With You In Mind” that shape this album’s presence. Even the choice of the album’s sole rendition, that of “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” falls right into place with those Pintchik originals that burn something moody from the interior of chipper, bright passages. Good stuff.
Your album personnel: Leslie Pintchik (piano), Steve Wilson (alto & soprano saxes), Ron Horton (trumpet, flugelhorn), Scott Hardy (bass), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion), and Michael Sarin (drums).
Released on Pintch Hard Records.
DC Improvisers Collective – In the Gloam of the Anthropocene
Thrilling set from the DC Improvisers Collective on their new release In the Gloam of the Anthropocene. It begins with some fiery jazz-rock fusion, free and dissociative, yet cohesive in that way fireflies seem to move in unison while careening in all directions. That they occasionally stray into a little 70s-style trip-rock is an appealing texture to throw into the middle of the ferocity.
Guest Natalie Spehar adds her cello into the mix on two tracks, which really brings a thick melodic aspect to music that had spent plenty time up til that point speeding right along. This is especially true on “Rosslyn Suite,” where cello lifts off from a riveting intro of bass clarinet’s deep hum and a flurry from drums. First half of the album shows the group knows how to hit the gas pedal, while the second half displays their talent at simply letting the music cruise at an easy speed (excepting a mad dash to the finish line). I really enjoy this recording. Its energy is an arresting feature, but it’s the sense of completeness, of a well-rounded vision that is most striking.
Your album personnel: Ben Azzara (drums), Jonathan Matis (piano, guitar), Mike Sebastian (sax, bass clarinet), Natalie Spehar (cello), and Chris Brown and Jon Steele share responsibilities on (bass).
The album is Self-Produced.
Mike Parker’s Unified Theory – Embrace the Wild
There’s no way to pigeonhole Embrace the Wild, the interesting new release by bassist Mike Parker’s Unified Theory. Featuring some solid names from the Krakow, Poland scene, this mix of post-bop, indie-rock, avant-garde and some inclinations for modern classical leads to music that shifts between sounds like scene-changes at the theater and all the drama inherent in just such a production. The quintet possesses a big voice, even when it’s used for comfort, not chaos. The three-part “All Saints” ends the album pretty spectacularly, with the big sound and flailing motion that dominates much of this album ending with a tranquil sigh. There is something so satisfying about an album providing a gentle landing to a wild ride.
It’s an album that makes a pretty decent first impression, but, ultimately, it’s gonna be one that earns a listener’s appreciation through time and attention. I say this from experience.
Your album personnel: Mike Parker (bass), Dawid Fortuna (drums), Bartek Prucnal (alto sax), Slawek Pezda (tenor sax), and Cyprian Baszynski (trumpet).
The album is Self-Produced.
Cool album art from Agata Kotula.
Some of this material was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
“New Arrivals Jazz Picks” & “New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2014 eMusic.com, Inc.
As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.