Jason Rigby (ts, ss, as, b-cl, wfl), Mike Holober (p, Fender Rhodes), Cameron Brown (b), Mark Ferber (d, cymbals), Rich Johnson (tp), Lauren Riley (cello), Soo-Kyung Park (fl), Sam Sadigursky, Jason Gillenwater (cl)
Bar code: 8427328422543
Jason Rigby's new recording is his first as a leader and features renowned bassist Cameron Brown, pianist Mike Holober and drummer Mark Ferber as well as important musical contributions by trumpeter Rich Johnson, cellist Lauren Riley, flautist Soo-Kyung Park and clarinettists Jason Gillenwater and Sam Sadigursky. "Translucent Space" features Rigby playing tenor/soprano/alto saxophones, bass clarinet & wood flute in a variety of ensemble textures. The project is a documentation of Jason's original compositions with the priority of improvisation and group interplay in mind.
"31-year-old New York musician Jason Rigby has previous experience working with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Aretha Franklin's Band at Radio City Music Hall. He trained at Youngstown State University in Ohio, DePaul University in Chicago and at the Manhattan School of Music. While still in Cleveland, he performed regularly with organist Dan Wall and tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda, and at the Manhattan School of Music he played with Dick Oatts, Mike Abene and Rich Perry. He was awarded Down Beat magazine's Best College Jazz Instrumentalist in 1999.
On this debut recording, Jason Rigby explores his own compositions in a style that covers several sub-genres of jazz over the latter half of the 20th Century. Rigby is heard to good effect on alto, soprano and tenor sax, as well as bass clarinet and wood flute. He is accompanied by his working quartet of keyboardist Mike Holober, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Mark Ferber. In addition, he is joined by several guests: trumpeter Rich Johnson, cellist Lauren Riley, flautist Soo-Kyong Park, and clarinettists Sam Sadigursky and Jason Gillenwater.
Rigby makes it clear that this album is not intended to be singleminded blowing session. The opening track, Proximo, finds the saxophonist playing with the intensity of an early-'60s John Coltrane. In contrast, Turquoise Turkish has more than a passing resemblence to early-'60s Ornette Coleman, with a much accelerated tempo and more than an occasional flash of free jazz playing. Rigby picks up the soprano sax on Southhampton (UK), with an attractive delivery. On the attractive, aptly named ballad Atmospheric, he's back on tenor sax with a straightahead sound. On the above opening selections, Holober plays Rhodes electric piano.
The saxophonist slips into an outside jazz mode on both 114 and Backandforthedness, emulating late Coltrane, and working alongside trumpeter Rich Johnson. Holober uses the opportunity to go to acoustic piano, providing a driving, effective solo. On the following Green of Greens, Rigby makes a melodic soprano sax statement and solo; he is featured on Indian bamboo flute on Mumbai.
- Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
"On the competitive New York scene, youve got to be more than just a strong player; youve got to have a concept. Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Jason Rigbys eclectic yet focused debut, Translucent Space, is one of those records that creeps up on you. Recorded live to two-track in just one day, the disc shows Rigbys broad textural reach and integration of a range of stylistic influences. This is one of the handful of records that seem to emerge out of nowhere each year, introducing an artist who demands to be followed closely.
Fresh Sound Records fans will know Rigby for his work on records by bassist Eivind Opsvik and pianist Kris Davis, as well as Soul Note guitarist Scott Dubois. But though Rigbys stylea blend of Wayne Shorters cerebralism with middle-period Coltranes modal explorationsmay be familiar, his strength as a composer is something altogether new.
The Phrygian modality of the hypnotic 7/4 Proximo evokes a feeling of Northern Africa, with Mike Holobers Fender Rhodes and a second line of flute and twin clarinets supporting Rigbys spare theme with close voicings shifting in and out of dissonance. Turquoise Turkish, on the other hand, is a fiery swinger that, just shy of four minutes, seems over before it begins. A rapid-fire head sets up powerful free bop solos from Rigby and Holober, before evolving into a free-for-all between the two, firmly supported by bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Mark Ferber.
Theres a hint of bassist Dave Hollands groove-centricity on Southampton [UK], but with Ferbers Tony Williams energy filtered through a Joey Baron-like slapdash support, the funk is implied, with nary a backbeat to be found. Still, Brown shares Hollands ability to maintain an unshakable pulse while remaining responsive. Compositionally, Rigbylike Hollandmanages to shift meters in ways that feel natural despite their conflicted nature: Southampton may be in 4/4, but it feels somehow like it should be in 6/8.
Browns compelling opening solo on the aptly titled tone poem Atmospheric proves how underappreciated he is, despite a decades-long career working with artists including saxophonist Archie Shepp, pianist Don Pullen and singer Sheila Jordan. Perhaps its as simple as his choice to be a sideman (he has only one record as a leader), but his ability to comfortably cross stylistic boundaries makes him a perfect choice for Rigby.
Brown and Holober sit out on the brief 114, where Rigby builds a surprisingly cogent sound from saxophone, drums and Rich Johnsons muted trumpet. If Translucent Space is a showcase for Rigby, its equally one for Ferberwho, like Rigby, has emerged seemingly out of nowhere in the past few years, playing on an increasing number of sessions.
Elsewhere Rigby invokes the spirit of Coltrane (Backandforthedness), Paul Motian (Green of Greens) and Charles Lloyd (Mumbai), the latter piece featuring wood flute over an insistent bass/drums groove. In lesser hands Rigbys esoteric tastes might feel ambiguous, but the strength of Translucent Space lies in its coherence, intellect and accessibilitymaking it one of the years most remarkable debuts."
- John Kelman, All About Jazz
"Modern jazz saxophone is healthya wealth of talented young horn players are proving their own merit in the genre. New York based Jason Rigby shows he also has what it takes on as serious player and composer on Translucent Space. Rigby has performed with seminal artists like pianist Kris Davis (Life Span, 2004) and bassists Eivind Opsvik (Overseas , 2003) and Bob Sabin (Killdozer, 2005). The company Rigby keeps says a lot about him. His partners share a proclivity towards modern music, be it frenzied rock, urban beats or new mainstream ideas. His debut, Translucent Space, is a real contender, showing multiple personalities and an adventurous spirit.
While fans are quick to speak about the whos who of new sax players, Rigby is as bright as the next, extrapolating a variety of styles and delivering them in a contemporary setting. On atmospheric pieces such as Proximo, lush and dissonant clarinet/flute/sax patterns smoothly contrast against a flowing tempo. Rigby blows with soulful tones or quickly bops it true on Turquoise Turkish with primary bandmates Mike Holober (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and the phenomenal Mark Ferber (drums).
Theres even some street-level funk on Southampton, with pan-like percussion, but the groove can also be found on more intricate pieces like the aptly titled Atmospheric, where the group announces the somber melody with loose improvisation. The free jazz implications of 114 (with guest trumpeter Rich Johnson) bring to mind the ideas of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. Rigby is strong and confident, but he also allows risk-taking, moving comfortably out of the mainstream into freer territories.
Rigby, a multi-instrumentalist, plays wood flute on the bouncy Mumbai, bringing a Middle Eastern aura to the music. The recording comes to a satisfying conclusion with the gorgeous Christopher, where his quartet is augmented by the striking cellist Lauren Riley, who shares the spotlight with Rigbys powerful free tenor play. Given this stellar debut, it will be quite interesting to see where Rigbys musical ventures will lead next."
- Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
"On this aptly named album, Jason Rigby makes quite an impact. As a composer, he brings in his several musical influences. As a musician, he shows exemplary skill on the instruments he plays, including a wood flute that is used in India.
Rigby keeps his charts open to various styles. For the most part, he feeds his band with the nucleus of an idea that they can flesh and bring to a resolution. The initial notations open out and take several diversions that do not detract from the whole. He gives notice of that right off when Proximo gets into semblance through the woodwinds. It is at first a soft-toned piece, floating gently in a new wave garb. Mike Holober gradually ups the tempo, but then Rigby breaks loose on the tenor saxophone, cutting out from the earlier pulse and letting structure countenance free blowing.
Backandforthedness begins in modal form. But then Rigby casts that aside to get into constructed swing, juxtaposing a wail against the grain to bring in a lively element of surprise. His continues to spin adventurous ideas, stamping them and drawing Holober, who comes up with his own lively inventions, into the well of imagination. The Indian flute appears, appropriately enough, on Mumbai (the city formerly known as Bombay). Rigby uses staccato phrasing before settling down into the melody. The tune is in constant churn; Mark Ferber adds to the atmosphere with sharp accents and a thumping bass on the drums. Together they capture the bustling heat that is the lifestyle of Mumbai.
After a debut like this, one can only look forward with eager anticipation to Rigbys next recording.
- Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz
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