Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Adam Rogers - Sight (Criss Cross, 2009)

Guitarist and composer Adam Rogers's profile has slowly been rising over the past few years on the basis of some plum sideman appearances with the likes of Chris Potter and James Carter, and a series of records as a leader for the Dutch jazz label Criss Cross. What is interesting about this album is that it presents him in a spare trio context, supported by John Patatucci on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. Unlike The stinging and angular tone he used at times with Potter and Carter, on this album he uses a much more subtle and rounded guitar tone, shining like a blue neon light against the pulsating bass and drums. There are a couple of interesting jazz and popular standards on this disc that I really enjoyed, like the groups version of Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One" which sounds wonderful with the distinctive Monk melody ringing joyfully in a nice fast paced improvisation. Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane" gets a fine up-tempo performance, with fluid and stylish soloing. Shaw was an excellent composer and vastly under-rated trumpeter, hopefully his compositions will be more widely used in the future. The standard "I Hear a Rhapsody" is quite subtle and intricate, featuring a melodic bass solo with guitar comping underneath. "Yesterdays" is fast but still well controlled, with the trio playing in a fleet manner. Penn's drumming keeps things moving along briskly. Among the originals, "Sight" is uptempo with a deep blue guitar feel, melding with supple drumming for a fine performance. "Memory's Translucence" has a mellower feel and a probing guitar solo leaving open space available before picking things up to a collective mid-tempo. This was a laudable album with subtle and intricate performances. The music is not loud or flash, but speaks for itself with well thought out improvisations that were focused and well crafted.
Sight -

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