Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jon Crowley - At the Edge (Lonely Crow Records, 2011)

Trumpeter Jon Crowley is always looking to improve his sound and musical conception. Whether it is through continuous practice and gigging or playing with his rock ‘n’ roll side project Red Light Growler, Crowley is a musician who refuses to stand still. This album is a fine example of the evolution of his work. His first record, Connections, from 2009, was an expertly played post-bop acoustic date, refracting the music of the freebop bands of the 1960’s through postmodern jazz. This one takes the music in an entirely different direction, being a beautiful sounding album full of mystery and spaciousness. It sounds like Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way meeting the post-rock band Tortoise by way of a minimalist, patient aesthetic. It is the nature of the music which moves suite like through a shimmering atmospheric form. Joining Crowley on this album are Jeremy Udden on alto saxophone, Ziv Ravitz on drums, Julian Pollack on Rhodes and piano, and is a big part of providing the atmospherics, and Julian Smith is on bass. The music is broken down in an interesting way, with longer pieces divided short vignettes of improvisation, which keep the music moving forward and the listener on their toes for subtle shifts This was a very successful album that should prove enjoyable to both modern jazz fans and adventurous rock ‘n’ roll fans. The music has an enigmatic quality that encourages repeated listens, and the musicians are really locked into the loose free flowing aesthetic of the music. At the Edge -

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