Bar code: 84 27328 42078 5
Horses are galloping along on this odd-time collection by bassist Mark Zubek. Enjoy the up beat, funky edge of modern jazz, with its lush horn arrangements. Featuring Mark Turner, Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek.
"It seems that the young artists on Fresh Sound New Talent are dedicated to forging their own sound, instead of winning easy acclaim by appropriating classic jazz styles of the '50s and '60s.
The debut release by bassist-composer Mark Zubek (a new name to me, though I am familiar with his brother Kevin the drummer for the Lemon Juice Quartet, among others) is striking to say the least. Zubeks original compositions, scored for 2 and 3 horn front lines sans piano, manage to be hookily melodic without sacrificing anything on the cerebral end of things. "Yes Yes" and "No No," feature gorgeous themes that flow like minor-keyed mini-chorales for two tenors and trumpet. Other themes (such as the title track, and "Low Down") are more contrapuntal, with all sorts of nifty little harmonic asides, and some very crafty call-and-response. Saxophonists Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek, both skillful modern inside players, are different enough to be easily distinguished: Blakes rather ethereal sound blends and contrasts nicely with Cheeks earthier approach.
Rhythmically, Zubeks pieces seem influenced by some of the things Ive heard from the so-called M-Base school lots of odd time signatures played with an effortless, polyrhythmic linear funk feel. Drummer Chander Sardjoe is a somewhat busy player who sounds quite a bit like M-Base stalwarts "Smitty" Smith and Gene Lake. He is clearly having fun with this drum-centric music, and his numerous fills and accents dance playfully above Zubeks warm, resonant bass. The two quartet tracks are no less rewarding. Mark Turner replaces Cheek and Blake on these pieces, and his long lines spin and mesh beautifully with the concise, Dorham-influenced trumpet of Phillippe Thomas (another new name to me). "Petite Rosalie," penned by Thomas, has a particularly fetching Caribbean lilt that is offset by Zubeks and Sardjoes churning island rhythms. Horse With a Broken Leg has great compositions, excellent playing, and a fresh sound (indeed!) from these new talents. The only misstep is a rather lackadaisical reading of Jimi Hendrix "Manic Depression."
Dave Wayne -Jazz Weekly