Winding Shell

Winding Shell

by Jesse Elder
     
 
Jesse Elder is a young pianist who's won several awards and performs regularly in New York. This, his debut CD, features saxophonists Logan Richardson, Gary Thomas, Chris Cheek, and Jeremy Viner, bassist Chris Tordini, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey,

Overview

Jesse Elder is a young pianist who's won several awards and performs regularly in New York. This, his debut CD, features saxophonists Logan Richardson, Gary Thomas, Chris Cheek, and Jeremy Viner, bassist Chris Tordini, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, who's made quite a name for himself in only a few years on the scene by working with Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, and others, as well as recording two discs of his own. The Winding Shell is very much in a tradition of contemporary New York jazz: the melodies are winding, the drum patterns ("rhythms" imply a steadiness and swing that's not often present) are complex and ever-changing without being truly unfettered, and the saxophones (tenor and alto, played by a few different men depending on the track) spin out long, ribbon-like lines that owe more to Braxton than the blues. This seems like reactive music, aiming to counteract the emphasis on tradition and swing hammered home by Wynton Marsalis and company in the '80s and '90s. It's occasionally quite stark -- horns play accompanied only by cymbal whooshes, or pieces devolve into call-and-response between the entire band and Sorey -- but it's also beautiful, as long as you're not expecting to get too riled up by what you hear. Pieces like "The Thoughtful Nudge" and the title track live up to their titles, offering musical experiences that are equivalent to reading a really well-crafted short story in the New Yorker, or watching the month's best-reviewed art film. The last four tracks are two-piano improvisations, featuring Elder alongside Aya Nishina, and while they are of a totally different character than the rest of the album, they don't break the mood of refined good taste. There's not a note on this album that will make anyone stomp their feet and shout. But it is pretty.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/10/2009
Label:
Off
UPC:
5414939308529
catalogNumber:
13

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