Now, BJU has issued "Refuge". The album finds the leader in a musical conversation with pianist Jacob Sacks and drummer Michael Sarin (who's now appeared on three of his four releases). The seven-song program features five originals plus one each from Andrew Hill (the title track) and Mr. Springsteen ("Atlantic City"). The music is, at turns, playful, swinging, jazzy, noisy, rhythmic, lyrical and, believe me, never overstays its welcome. Whether it's the funky dancing drums underneath the violin solo on "On the Seat of Which" or Sacks' Monk-like piano on the opening "It Might Not Work" or the bluesy cake-walk strut of "Kick Me", this trio keeps the listener tapping toes, snapping fingers, and being by surprised by what's next. The trio shines on "Atlantic City" (listen below) giving it the sonic of a Tom Waits ballad––yet one can not miss the heartbreak and emotion in the violin lines. The wistful piano lines and the soft brush work (although note the depth of the bass drum) beneath the soaring violin solo helps to soften the tension.
the influence of Julius Hemphill's "The Hard Blues" on the arrangement. Sack's far-ranging solo stands out as does Sarin's hard-edged drum work. Near the end of the piece, Bardfeld quotes from a classic Paul Simon tune right after he imitates a police car siren. It's delightfully off-putting, funny, and poignant at the same time.
"Refuge" is an album to get lost in with songs that speak to the listener in many different ways. The musicianship of Sam Bardfeld, Jacob Sacks, and Michael Sarin is quite impressive plus the emotion they pour into these songs makes the program stand out. While the violinist is a very busy sideman, one hopes to see this Sam Bardfeld Trio bring this program into a concert space!
For more information, go to www.sambardfeld.com. To purchase the new album, go to https://sambardfeld.bandcamp.com/album/refuge.
Hear "Atlantic City":
Drummer and composer Sanah Kadoura, born in the country of Lebanon and raised in Canada, has impressed many fellow musicians and listeners over the course of her young career. Since moving to New York City in the mid-2010s, she's played with pianist Kirk Lightsey, guitarist Ed Cherry, vibraphonist Joe Locke, trumpeter/pianist Nicholas Payton, the late Roy Hargrove, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, and so many others. She's a member of the Canadian-based collective Ostara Project, whose 2022 debut album stood out for its creativity and musicianship, and self-released her first solo album "Hawk Eyes" in 2018 which featured, among others, guitarist Mark Whitfield and bassist James Genus. Ms. Kadoura writes her own music, produces her sessions, and is poised to become an important musical voice over the coming decades.
|Photo: Tieran Green|
The album closes with "Rise", a contemporary r'n'b piece featuring Ms. Majoko's melismatic vocal (check out her vocal chorus overdubs) over a rock-solid drum and Michel's burbling bass lines plus the colors of the Rhodes. Again, Stacy Dillard's soprano saxophone serves as a delightful counterpoint to the vocal. at about 3/4s of the way through the tune, the band breaks into a section that sounds more like progressive rock; this features voices coming at the listener from all sides over the throbbing. It makes for a surprising ending to a consistently creative adventure.
"Duality" is filled with good, solid, well-played music, planned out enough to make each song stand on its own yet open enough to allow for impressive solo work by a top-notch ensemble. One has to believe that Sanah Kadoura knows what she wants, what she can do, and, sooner than later, that the sky may be her only limit! Give a listen, a close listen!
For more information, go to https://sanahmusic.com/. To hear more and purchase the album, go to https://sanahkadoura.bandcamp.com/album/duality.
Hear "The Seer, The Soarer":