Thursday, June 23, 2016

Julian Shore: Which Way Now?

Tone Rogue Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Which Way Now?

The current jazz scene has expanded to include artists who produce varying kinds of music. The descriptive terminology can include terms such as modern, classical and abstract, but the characteristics are similar: balladic tempos, complex phrasing and usually low-volume music. Some might refer to it as “quiet music.” 

Also of note: It seldom swings.

Even so, this influx has become so pervasive that I’m loath to ignore it. This album, by pianist/composer Julian Shore, is one such example. His basic group features guitarist Gilad Hekselman, tenor saxman Dayna Stephens, bassist Aidan Carroll and drummer Colin Stranahan. This album also utilizes additional artists on alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, bass and guitar, along with different reed artists and “voices.” 

All 10 tracks are written by Shore, although several are based on other compositions, such as Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma” and Debussy’s “Lullaby” passage from Clair De Lune.

Everything is beautifully performed, and gorgeous to hear. But it’s all for “listening,” not dancing or grooving. If those who create such music wish to place it in a category identified as jazz, I guess that’s okay; it is where some of the newest music seems to be heading.

With that caveat in mind, jazz fans looking to expand their horizons are certainly to enjoy this release.

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