Monday, May 20, 2013
Youth Movement (Part 2)
Monder is his usual fine self, so understated in his rhythm work and quite exploratory on every solo. He seems to be on the brink of letting go on "15,000" yet holds back while playing an intriguing solo. His spare chordal accompaniment on "My Blues for You" foreshadows a most tasteful solo. His insistent lines on Dave Matthews's "Don't Drink The Water" build off Stranahan's hard-edged playing. The drummer is consistent throughout, that is, consistently good. Yes, he can be loud and forceful but displays tasteful restraint on slower numbers such as "Stir My Soul" - that same tune features fine bass work from Pavolka, not just supportive but moving in counterpoint with the melody lines (he also takes an excellent solo.) "Rhoda's Suite" is reminiscent of music made by the Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano Trio. One hears the similarity in how this quartet uses space and in the deliberate melody and solos. Stranahan stirs the stew with his heated percussion.
With "Haymaker", Noah Preminger continues to traverse a musical path of his own choosing. This music has fire and wit, subtlety and fearless interactions. One can tell this foursome listens to each other when they play and the result is often emotionally satisfying. For more information, go to www.noahpreminger.com.
Noah Preminger plays a "CD Release Party & Birthday Celebration" on Sunday June 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the fine club atmosphere of Bridge Street Live, 41 Bridge Street, in Collinsville, CT. All the participants from the recording session will be there save for Ben Monder - the talented young pianist Glenn Zaleski will take the guitarist's place. Mr. Preminger will be celebrating his 27th birthday so one expects the event to be a bit raucous at times. For more information, go to www.41bridgestreetlive/calendar/ or call 860-693-9762.
"The Art of the Melody" (Nicholas Records) is her debut recording and the title tells much of the story. Ms. Davis embraces the melody in each song and, while she certainly can solo, her overarching goal seems to be to make sure the listener connects with the emotions within the melody. Joining her on this adventure is the sparkling young pianist Chris Ziemba, and fellow Aussies Linda Oh (bass) and Rajiv Jayaweera (drums).
What stands out on first listen is Ms. Davis's lovely, light, tone - one can hear the influence of Lee Konitz. Ziemba's work is exemplary, whether in duet on the sweet reading of Boz Scagg's "We're All Alone", playing in unison with the saxophonist on the bop-ish delight "Conscientia" or flying over the rhythm section on the opening "41 St. Nick." Ms. Oh, who is one busy musician as both a leader and sideman, infuses the music with a buoyant feeling on the uptempo tracks and a solid foundation on the slower pieces (she's does get a bit impish on Tom Waits's "Martha.") Her duet with the leader, Charlie Chaplin's "Smile", shows why she's in such demand; her playing is smart and her choice of notes not only frame the alto saxophonist melodies but also provides excellent counterpoint. Jayaweera, who came to the US in 2011 and has already worked alongside pianist Kenny Werner, saxophonist Joel Frahm and vocalist Cyrille Aimee, doesn't show off but certainly shows up. His brush work on the lovely reading of "Crazy She Calls Me" is so light and feathery and perfect underneath Ms. Davis's melodic saxophone. There's a touch of Paul Motian in his active work on the traditional "Annie Laurie."
One can just imagine Paul Desmond smiling as Angela Davis plays. Her sweet tone, her dedication to melody over technical prowess and her interactions with the rhythm section deliver a strong message - for Ms. Davis, the "art" is found in the "melody." For more information, go to www.angeladavismusic.com.