Seamus Blake (ts), Kevin Hays (p, Fender Rhodes, fl, vcl), Larry Grenadier (b), Bill Stewart (d)
Bar code: 8427328421898
"Disque d'Emoi" by Jazz Magazine
"For me this is a staggering live performance in the studio. Kevin, Seamus, Larry, and Bill utilize their skills to provide us with sheer beauty after returning from a European tour. The eight selections were played straight down in one very productive afternoon without the aid of fixes and overdub.
As a Fresh Sounds listener you don't need a history of the various influences of these players. What's really important is that they do not trample on the past, present, or future. This group achieves grace in the midst of extreme chance taking."
-David Baker (from the liner notes)
"Il aura fallu plus de temps au Sangha Quartet pour simposer à nos oreilles, sans doute parce que le titre inaugural, The Modern Things, vaporeuse reprise de Björk, manque de consistance. Un conseil : passez directement à la plage 2 où Kevin Hays, à cheval entre piano acoustique et Fender Rhodes, met le feu aux poudres. On prend pied dans cet univers électrique, quelque part entre Weather Report et le quartette européen de Jarrett, où le saxophone de Blake, nimbé dune clarté moins stridente que celle de Garbarek (et parfois maquillée deffets), fait office de fil conducteur. Plus loin, c'est cette interprétation labyrinthique de Stella By Starlight (Stellar), où la rythmique Stewart-Grenadier s'active avec puissance, qui finit de nous persuader : ce groupe a quelque chose, une patte, un son, pas encore tout à fait défini mais déjà là. Vivement la suite."
-Jérôme Plasseraud, Jazz Magazine, December 2004
"The debate on whether jazz musicians should use acoustic versus electric instrumentation has been going on since Miles Davis and others produced fusion in the early '70s. Yet thankfully, artists have continued to search and have found avenues to create music that successfully incorporates both traditional and modern ideas, and such is the case with Fear of Roaming by the Sangha Quartet.
While the quartet's name may be unfamiliar, its members include the combined talents of saxophonist Seamus Blake, pianist Kevin Hayes, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Bill Stewart, each of whom is a prolific and noteworthy musician in his own right. But what quickly becomes apparent is the high level of musicianship and chemistry the quartet shared in creating this memorable recording.
Captured in the studio after a tour of Europe, the quartet recorded the eight selections in a single afternoon without the use of fixes or overdubs, resulting in spontaneous and open music. The skillful and balanced use of technology such as delay, loops, and other effects enhances the standard jazz quartet sound with creative energy.
This is evident on the opening piece The Modern Things by Euro-pop sensation Björk, which begins with an echoing saxophone intro joined by acoustic piano, bass, and culminates with open solos that make use of a variety of effects and textures. The contrast of these different musical timbres makes for a listening experience that is both traditional and forward-looking.
On the aggressive What Survives Hays uses over-amplified keyboards and a clavinet-like voice to color the music as the other members drive the melody which then segues into the dramatic Du Pre, featuring some superb bass work and soloing by Grenadier.
Other points of interest include the wonderfully strange Black Elk with Hayes providing a haunting wood flute solo, and some fine sax work by Blake on the title Fear of Roaming.
Things end with a post-bop galactic ride on Stellar, with strong drum work by Stewart, and the funky antics of Grind, featuring some nice and nasty tones from Hayes' keyboard. Regardless of the technical wizardry, in the end it is all about good music, and Fear of Roaming is a rewarding and pleasant experience that is highly recommended."
-Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
"In the "New Talent" series, but none of these guys are new: Seamus Blake, Kevin Hays, Larry Grenadier, Bill Stewart. Blake and Hays split the writing/arranging credits, aside from a piece by Björk which starts out warbly but over ten minutes develops into an interesting and powerful piece, with Hays vamping on Fender Rhodes and Blake punctuating on tenor sax. Hays favors the Fender Rhodes here, using piano mostly for accents. This gives Blake a more cushy level of support, with less emphasis on trade-offs. Which should make Blake the leader. He's been a notable sideman for quite a while, but given the chance to lead he remains discreet. B+."
-Tom Hull, Village Voice
"While every listener may not be familiar with the name of the group, most members of the Sangha Quartet will certainly ring a bell. The avant-garde quartet recorded Fear Of Roaming shortly after returning from a 2003 European tour with the CD being issued in late 2004.
Pianist Kevin Hays appears on more than a dozen albums including seven under his own leadership. He has appeared with such stars as Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, Roy Haynes and Chris Potter. The keyboardist contributes five compositions and one arrangement to this CD.
Canadian tenor man, Seamus Blake now works out of New York and has received a lot of recognition in recent years. Magazines like Downbeat and Jazz Times have openly praised his abilities. A longtime member of the Mingus Big Band, Blake also appears with Billy Drummond, Victor Lewis and with various Kevin Hays outfits.
Bassist Larry Grenadier has shared the stage with some of the legends of jazz. His gig book included names like Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Betty Carter, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau. He is still an integral part of Mehldaus group. Its difficult to listen to a jazz radio program today without hearing mention of this outstanding bassist.
Drummer Bill Stewart is known for his work with Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea. His own BlueNote album drew accolades from the New York jazz press.
Fear Of Roaming is as modern as tomorrow. By my own admission, Im fan of classic jazz but still found a lot to enjoy on this release. Seamus Blake stands out on Stellar. The Grind is a funky piece that appealed to my moldy fig tastes. Kevin Hays composition Black Elk is a charmer. Hays offers some passages on wood flute that really perk up the listeners ears. I really enjoyed the album. Thats quite a compliment from an aging Dixielander."
-Richard Bourcier, JazzReview.com