Sunday, September 14, 2014

John Esposito, Jeff Marx and Jeff Siegel - Tahrir (Sunjump, 2011)

John Esposito is a multi-faceted guy: a pianist, composer, band leader and collaborator, which are all referenced in this album. The band also includes Jeff Marx on saxophones and flutes and Jeff Siegel on drums and percussion. The opening "Oumou" and concluding track "Star Arrow" are very compelling, touching on the music of the mid 1960's John Coltrane Quartet and early 1970's McCoy Tyner band. Esposito makes use of the entire keyboard, building the music dramatically through lower rumbles of bass and drops and showers of brighter notes. Named for the Egyptian square where democracy protests took place, the title track "Tahrir" is appropriately dramatic with a powerful opening followed by rippling piano and drums. The collective improvisation on "Mr. K" works really well, with each member of the band fully supported by the other two for solos and trio playing. Seigel is the centerpiece on "Summit" taking a moody and open ended solo that fits the quality of feeling of the performance. "Glade" moves things in an entirely different direction with prepared piano, flute and very light percussion setting a mystical vibe. Marx and Siegel move to saxophone and drums but keep the exotic nature of the performance going strong. The powerful and fast "Mezzomprph" takes the group back into familiar modern jazz territory highlighted by Marx shifting between multiple horns. The hard work that went into this album really pays off, the music is challenging and thoughtful and makes a complete and coherent statement. Tahrir -

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