Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
The second recording for Jason Adasiewicz with his quintet Rolldown takes the band into a distinct modern jazz arena, sporting equal parts of straight-ahead mainstream pacings alongside the bold, inventive, improvisational music of latter and current day Chicago. As a vibraphonist, he is deferring to his bandmates in the best spirit of teamwork, and admittedly would rather be a cog in the works than the driving force. This democracy has worked in his favor, not merely to divert attention away from his agile and lithe vibraphone playing. There's a group sound being developed, due to the sharp pitched alto saxophone of Aram Shelton, and Josh Berman, who is making strides and progressive statements on the more traditionally identified cornet. And there's a connection to the advanced jazz players from the '60s who made equally brash statements for the Blue Note label, folks like Jackie McLean, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Tolliver, and Sam Rivers. Rolldown is most adept at turning a title like "Dagger" into a bluesy dirge via Shelton's ribald clarinet and the stoic cornet of Berman, or morphing "Hide" from Thelonious Monk-style angularities into a dredged-up, mucky consistency. "Varmint" is the perfect representation of a sneaky, snide, dangerous critter, rendered in a precise, prickly, yet loose melody not all that unlike something you might have heard from the Art Ensemble of Chicago in their mid-period ECM stage. As ironic as the other titles are representative, "Green Grass" is a churning post-bop swinger with some deft rhythm changes, effervescent in the energy and penetrating tone Adasiewicz exudes, while you hear the full, piquant, strained alto sound of Shelton quite similar to McLean or Arthur Blythe. In a driving-sideways, elusive, slippery, post-bop idea, "The Griots" punctuates and acknowledges the aforementioned Blue Note pioneers -- it's written by Andrew Hill. Where Adasiewicz himself shines and takes the lead is during "Punchbug," a macabre waltz contrasted by the silly clarinet of Shelton. Special mention should be made of bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly, who are not mere timekeepers, but have innate knowledge as to the flexible rhythms, organic ins/outs, and smart-set soul of how this combo operates, lives, and breathes. Considering his relatively young age (32 at the time of this recording) and rapid progress as a maturing musician, it's safe to say Jason Adasiewicz has a tiger by the tail, though it also seems like he's wrestling with alligators, two varmints he apparently has tamed.