Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ari Roland - And So I Lived In Old New York... (Smalls, 2007)

Ari Roland's latest CD is a mostly uptempo investigation of modern mainstream jazz. Roand switches deftly between bowed and plucked bass and he is accompanied by Chris Byars on tenor saxophone, Sacha Perry on piano, and Phil Stewart on drums. This is a very strong blowing session, the group knows each other well from the scene around the Smalls club and have an easygoing familiarity with each other. A la Duke Ellington, Roland writes tunes for specific band members, “Byars-a-Carpet” gives the saxophonist plenty of room to stretch out, and “Perry Plov” features some ripe and svelt piano playing. Elsewhere, it is the bassist's show, like on the disc ending “Blue Madi” which has a couple of bowed bass solos. This is a fine album of modern acoustic jazz which mixes the fresh and classical in equal portions. The musicians sounded like they were having fun searching for new ways to explore mainstream jazz.

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