Thursday, March 14, 2013
Quintet X 2
One can hear that this band spent serious time with this material, especially when you pay attention to how each musician works within the song. Groups that have both piano and guitar don't always blend the 2 instruments as well as Killian does here. On the playful "Echolalic", Gonzalez plays smartly beneath Moreno's solo, alternating between chords and single-note runs to support the guitarist. His own funky solo is a treat. The exciting riff that opens "Observation" gives way to a finely structured piece that moves forward atop the excellent work of Holt and Hunter; the composer's sense of dynamic variation and the rhythm section's execution is impressive. The straight-ahead swing of "Beekman33" is relaxed yet opens up to a fiery tenor solo, a bluesy guitar spotlight and a very playful piano groove.
Stan Killian was wise to bring his working band into the studio to record "Evoke." Their understanding of the material and their relationship to the composer allows this music to breathe; this is not just another "blowing session" where the 5 musicians can display their impressive chops but a well-tempered meeting of colleagues open to any and all ideas. For more information, go to stankillian.com.
Here's some of the fine music on "Evoke", courtesy of Sunnyside:
And, the true joy of this music is how the rhythm section reinvents itself during the course of these "long" songs. After the formal opening of "Orbiting" where all 5 of the musicians contribute to the theme (Royston, one of the best drummers on the planet at this time, really "moves this piece.) Both Janisch and Royston can stop on a dime, can change direction and intensity in a flash so, as you listen to this music, hear what they do under the soloists. On this particular piece, they really fire up Colom as he flashes through his solo and then, as the applause dies down, they take it easy as Ortiz begins his long dissertation, pushing at the pianist as the solo moves forward until the music explodes. Then, it's the drummer's turn and he does not disappoint. Yes, he's got the chops but there is such spirit in his playing.
"Banned In London" is filled with exciting musical moments, making one wish he was in the front row of the concert. Greg Osby is the perfect foil for the pianist's more abstract ideas, playing with fire and confidence throughout. Raynald Colom is also a good foil in this band, his interactions with the rhythm section a excellent example of how give-and-take works in the concert setting. I have already praised the woro of Rudy Royston - if you ever get a chance to hear him live, do not pass it up. To their credit, Aruan Ortiz and Michael Janisch have not re-invented creative post-bop music as much as reinvigorated it. Play this CD good and loud; much joy can be had while the walls shake. For more information, go to www.aomjquintet.com.