Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee (b), Mark Turner (ts), Dayna Stephens (ts), Erik Jekabson (tp, flh), Albert Sanz (p, Fender Rhodes), Ferenc Nemeth (d)
Bar code: 8427328422093
This is Emmanuel Vaughan-Lees first outing on Fresh Sound New Talent label. It his second CD as leader, "Borrowed Time" and features saxophonists Mark Turner and Dayna Stephens, trumpeter Erik Jekabson, pianist Albert Sanz, and drummer Ferenc Nemeth in warm cocktail of interesting and intriguing new jazz.
San Francisco-born bassist Emmanuel Vaughan-Lees debut recording as a leader, "Previous Misconceptions," received excellent reviews and was featured on the May 2002 issue of the Jazziz Magazine sampler CD representing talented Berklee alumni. As well as performing as a sideman, Emmanuel regularly leads his own groups in performances throughout the West Coast. He is also involved in several collaborative projects with many of the most exciting and innovative players in California.
Emmanuel has performed, toured, and recorded with many great Bay Area-based musicians including Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillit Lickers, Jacqui Naylor, Eddie Marshall, Mike Zilber, Julian Lage, Michael Bluestein, Anton Schwartz, Scott Amendola, Art Hirahara, Jaz Sawyer, Babatude Lea, Justin Morell, Dave Mac Nab, Jason Lewis, Dayna Stephens, Mike Olmos, Erik Jekabson, Jeff Marrs, Leonard Thompson, Matt Clark, Akira Tana, Adam Theis, and many others.
"Another triumph for the Barcelona-based Fresh Sound New Talent label. Borrowed Time features Emmanuel Vaughn-Lee on bass, but also explores his writing and arranging five compositions featured on this recording. Vaughn-Lees compositions and the respective band performances are delicate and graceful, but retain an emotional ambiguity, like watching the evening fog roll embracing and enwrapping the Golden Gate Bridge. The music is like a beautiful fog that is slowly dissolving certainty into a shapeless and swirling form. Ginnys Place feels like warm spot in the midst of turbulent uncertainty. It is a rich combination of structure and soul.
Maybe So, Maybe No is introduced by Albert Sanz on piano. His lovely solo and accompaniment provides a solid foundation for Mark Turner on saxophone. Turner takes off, swirls around before landing conclusively. The overall mood of the recording is based on or epitomized by Duke Ellingtons Low Key Lightly. Vaughn-Lee and Turner take turns on this lovely, ambiguous, but wistful gem. Is it sad? Is it profound? Its a bit of both. With the addition of Albert Sanzs stunning Esperanza and Ferenc Nemeths penetrating Vera, this fully realized album that is both subtle and mature. It requires several repeat visits to this nether world. Highly recommended."
- John Doll, JazzReview.com, 2005
"Bay Area bassist Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee writes in the liner notes to Borrowed Time, his second CD, that its music grew out of a creative need to manifest the feelings [he] experienced becoming a father; to convey the joy, confusion, intimacy and sleeplessness of this defining period of life. I cant hear any of that on the album, but its hard to miss the overall excellence of these compositions and the playing of Vaughan-Lee and the other musicians on this session. The core band consists of Vaughan-Lee, tenor player Mark Turner, keyboardist Albert Sanz, and drummer Ferenc Nemeth, and theyre, ah, Berklee-riffic. Fellow Bay Area resident Erik Jekabson contributes trumpet or flugelhorn to four of the CDs ten songs, and tenor player Dayna Stephens plays only on Vera, a two-tenor, minor-chord, pedal point slowburner.
The product is a successful blending of jazz tradition and the deeply technical new millennium sound in which the Fresh Sound New Talent label is so successfully specializing. The tunes that include Jekabson (I Love NY, for example) have harmonized trumpet/saxophone heads that recall the Jazz Messengers, or at least those songs Wayne Shorter composed for the bandbut the shifting bass/drums pulse below is the farthest thing from hard bop. It's just as propulsive and hypnotic, though.
You wont find a more striking example of this traditional/modern blending than the albums opener, Vaughan-Lees Bella, where those Shorter harmonies sing over a slaloming Vaughan-Lee bass and a rapid, skittering drum pattern from Nemeth that sounds like it's cribbed from an Aphex Twin record. Somehow these parts combine to create a calm but bracing midtempo groove and the solos from Turner and Sanz (here on Fender Rhodes) are just fine.
Turners irreproachable throughout, however. Sanzs Esperanza has a brain-ticklingly uneven structure and seductive interplay between Vaughan-Lees bass and Nemeths drums (one thrills especially at the moment in his pattern when he hits the tom) and Turner nails his solo. Its hard to fault his clear-voiced tone and unique phrasing, with its use of rests alternating with long, complex phrases, and Sanz seems like his perfect partner in the way his spacious chords seem to envelop Turners sax lines (listen to Maybe So, Maybe No for an illustration). Turner also excels on Ginnys Place, a ballad on which his melodic playing is accompanied by Vaughan-Lees adamant, precise bass and Nemeths breathing brushwork.
The title track feels like the heart of the CD, though; its ten minutes consist of nothing more than a bass/piano vamp, an aforementioned harmonized sax/trumpet theme, and some solos by the front line. Yet just as Turners solo here spans multiple octaves, the rhythm section's playing spans a variety of configurations and intensitieswhile remaining at all times lithe, precise, and powerfully intelligent.
This is one of those bands where all of the players are doing something individually memorable at the same timebut without giving an impression of ego-driven grandstanding. This is a spacious, graceful and memorable session, and its band dynamic is impeccably represented by the CDs pristine analog sound."
- Paul Olson, All About Jazz