|Photo: Ryan Bennett|
Even though Cohan does not bill "Originations" as a suite, the six-song, 51-minute, program certainly feels like one. The subtext of the music is the composer's coming terms with his parentage and his background, and how the music bridges the gap between countries in the region, doing so without an overt agenda. As he has worked with and recorded with most of these musicians in the past (save for the KAIA String Quartet plus percussionists Michael Raynor and Omar Musfi), he knows how to write for their "voices"––listening to the ensemble maneuver through the tricky rhythm patterns on "Imaginary Lines", one can hear their familiarity with the material and Cohan's trust in their ability. The "dancing" piano lines that open "Sabra" may remind some of the music of Third World Love, the quartet featuring trumpeter Avishai Cohen and bassist Omer Avital. The sensuous strings and bass lines create a flow that is enhanced by the excellent drumming and the use of Geof Bradfield's bass clarinet to shadow the bass lines. The leader's dazzling solo is framed by the hand percussion and the shimmering strings. One can hear the influence of maqam (Arabic melody modes) on this piece (and other songs). The lovely ballad "Heart" is graced by a lovely flugelhorn solo from Tito Carrillo––listen to how the clarinet and bass clarinet, trumpet, and strings move around behind the piano solo.
And you should listen again to "Originations." Climb onto the rhythms, cling to the melodies, savor the arrangements, and, after a while, you fell that the emotional richness of the music stands out. Over his career, one that spans two+ decades, Ryan Cohan has been known for his great technique on piano. Listening to his three previous albums on Motema plus here on his Origin debut, you can really hears how he's grown as a composer and arranger as well as a storyteller.
For more information, go to ryancohan.com. To purchase the album and read more about the project, go to originarts.com/recordings/recording.php?TitleID=82804.
Ryan Cohan - piano
John Wojciechowski - Bb clarinet, flute, alto flute, tenor saxophone
Geof Bradfield - bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Tito Carrillo - trumpet, flugelhorn
- acoustic bass
- riqq, frame drum, dumbek
KAIA String Quartet:
Victoria Moreira – violin
Naomi Culp – violin
Amanda Grimm – viola
Hope DeCelle – cello
The leader take out his acoustic guitar for the handsome ballad "Child of Time", a piece that balances quiet melodic passages with moments of intensity. Gilmore's articulate lines rise above the rhythm section, his solo displaying great emotion as well as technical dexterity.
"From Here To Here" brings joy for several different reasons. The music displays leader David Gilmore's continuing maturity as a composer and a player plus he's got one heck of a band supporting, prodding, pushing, and framing his music. It's great to have Criss Cross Records back and one hopes they'll continue to support the artists and their music!
For more information about the recording, go to www.crisscrossjazz.com/album/1405.html. To find out more about David Gilmore, go to www.davidgilmore.net.