Friday, March 01, 2013

NEXT Collective - CoverArt (Concord, 2013)

Jazz and pop music have always had a symbiotic relationship so it's not a far stretch for modern jazz musicians to draw from contemporary rhythm and blues and rock music. This group consists of Logan Richardson and Walter Smith III on saxophones, Matthew Stevens on guitar, Gerald Clayton and Kris Bowers on keyboards, Ben Williams on bass, Jamire Williams on drums, and Christian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott) on trumpet. To their credit, the group plays quite well together, and this is far from any type of slick confection. They take the modern tunes, arrange them imaginatively and then improvise upon them. “Twice” opens the album with electronic manipulation setting the stage for horns to blast off and lead the full band into a fine saxophone statement buoyed by bass and drums. Sparkling electric piano introduces “Africa” developing a suspended ballad feel carried forward by lightly harmonized horns developing a dreamy, floating texture. “Refractions In the Plastic Pulse” adds some flute into its creamy texture before Stevens and Williams awaken the proceedings with jolts of guitar and drums. A close attention to melody carries much of this album, making it quite accessible particularly on “Perth” where melodic guitar and harmonized horns meld nicely into a faster led saxophone solo that takes the performance to its conclusion. Cover Art -

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