Evening Falls CD
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Any guitarist signing up to Manfred Eicher's ECM label is in good company; over the past 30 or so years, the label has done much to redefine the role of the instrument in contemporary jazz by providing a home to players as diverse as Pat Metheny, Terje Rypdal, Bill Frisell and even Derek Bailey. Guitarist Jacob Young is yet another prodigiously talented player from the Nordic jazz genepool, here making his debut for the label.
Young has played with both Rashied Ali and Nils Petter Molvaer, but any tendencies towards free jazz blowout or ambient electronic fusion are kept well clear. A quick look at the supporting cast (which includes Jaga Jazzist's trumpeter, Food's bass player and legendary drummer Jon Christensen) might suggest the music could go anywhere. But it doesn't. Instead, the guitarist gives us melancholic, tasteful chamber jazz, immaculately produced and played; typical ECM fare, all in all.
Young studied with John Abercrombie, and like his teacher is capable of the most yearning introspection, particularly on acoustic guitar. In fact, he sounds most like Pat Metheny when he's unplugged; "The Promise" could be an out-take from 80/81. That's not a bad thing, by the way. On electric he adopts a muffled, classic jazz tone, replete with shifty chordal improvisations worthy of Jim Hall. Meanwhile Matthias Eick's agile trumpet has a touch of Kenny Wheeler about it, and his interplay with the guitarist recalls the latter's various pairings with Abercrombie.
Vidar Johansen's doleful bass clarinet completes the front line. He plays (uncredited) tenor on occasion, notably on the slightly fractious "Presence of Descant", where he reels off a rubbery solo that's languid and irritable in equal measure. This is about as energetic as the album gets, and the emphasis on ballads or slow, waltz time swing does get a little bit wearing over the album's 50 minutes.
Christensen and bassist Mats Eilertsen do their best, and the elastic balladry of "The Promise" offers probably the best music of the set. Here, the ever inventive drummer strokes tiny splashes of melody from his cymbals in counterpoint to Young's sweet improvisational flow. It's beautiful stuff, but the overall impression is that for this album at least, Young's not managed to make the album he's obviously capable of. Here's to the next one... --Peter Marsh
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Top Customer Reviews
rhythm, but all CD, no thanks.
As a drummer, it spoiled everyone else`s playing.
P.S. Love that trumpeter - shades of Stanko, Baker, Rava and even Miles....
which is no bad thing !!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Featured alongside Young are Mathias Eick (trumpet), Vidar Johansen (bass clarinet), Mats Eilertsen (double bass) and Jon Christensen (drums); all solid players. Young's compositions are well crafted, with strong melodies that weave in and out of solos and open improv. The horn arrangements provide texture to the pieces and often serve as a pad over which the soloist plays (check out Young's solo on "Evening Air" or bassist Eilertsen's great solo on "Falling"). Johansen's strong bass clarinet provides an excellent counterpoint to the soloist or to the melodies played by the trumpet/guitar. I love the way the bass clarinet is used here; in my mind it draws comparison's to Tomasz Stanko's arrangements on "From the Green Hill" or a few tracks from Dave Douglas' "The Infinite". Nicely done!
For those familiar with the ECM discography, it's well known that Manfred Eicher has been producing wonderful albums for years now. That "ECM sound" as I've often discussed with friends is present here: one that is personal, introspective, and pensive. One person's "too slow" is another's "fantastic use of space and dynamics". I highly recommend this album!
This album is truly "modern" chamber jazz; this is jazz that has organically shifted over to western classical sensibilities rather than simply fusing the two together. Young's band members Mathias Eik (trumpet), Vidar Johansen (backing winds), Mats Eilertson (double-bass), and Jon Christenson (drums) are completely on the same page as him and they work as an extremely focuesed unit. Young's classical and hollowbody guitar style and tone seem to overlap each other and this carries over to the rest of the band, not holding allegiance to the tones of classical or jazz playing. The album's underlying melodies are warm and heart-felt and this enables the band to use them as a tether, venturing deep into stark and contemplative chamber jazz texturings without abondoning the central themes or the listeners attention.
This is the most important ECM record that has come along in a long time. Furthermore, it is is an important stepping stone for Jacob Young and hopefully just a beginning.
If you are into Pat Metheny, Michael Hedges or similar music and melodies, this album will be a real surprising beautiful treat. Guaranteed.