Jason Roebke - High/Red/Center (Delmark, 2014) Jason Roebke is another progressive bassist and composer, based in Chicago, and making the best of that city’s fertile progressive jazz scene. He has a heavy hitting lineup here including Greg Ward on alto saxophone, Keefe Jackson on tenor saxophone, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Josh Berman on cornet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone and Mike Reed on drums. Leading a little big band here, the obvious comparison is to the great Charles Mingus, and indeed the uptempo performances on this album have their spiritual antecedents in Mingus albums like Ah Um and Blues and Roots. But this is far from any type of emulation, tracks like “Ballin” swing hard, but with an angularity that comes from a seasoned and adroit conception. Looking to challenge his band, the compositions and arrangements are knotty but always logical and allow for both full band playing and individual soloists to be expressive and creative. The secret ingredient is vibraphone player Jason Adasiewicz who adds accents akin to Out to Lunch on some of the more angular tracks and tight support on some of the swinging tracks and ballads like “Shadow.” This is classy and exciting music! High/Red/Center - amazon.com
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