Matt Moran, vibraphone; Adam Good, guitar, E-bow; John Hollenbeck, drums, percussion, bells, melodica; Oscar Noriega, alto saxophone, bass clarinet
It’s somehow fitting that the first release in CRI’s new jazz series should be dedicated to the music of maverick American composer Charles Ives. As the label is opening up its definition of what constitutes a serious American composer to include jazz, so, too, was Ives open to the sounds and styles of vernacular music, including the popular song, brass band music, and ragtime that served as the precursors to jazz. Such borrowings lent his music a raucous vitality that was his alone.
The shimmering timbre of Matt Moran’s vibraphone lends itself well to Ives’s more impressionistic textures. Saxophonist Oscar Noriega’s light, clean playing delivers the charming melodies in a straightforward manner, while occasionally flying off the beaten path with gleeful abandon. Guitarist Adam Good deftly handles Ives’s unorthodox chord voicings, while drummer John Hollenbeck supports aptly and unobtrusively, creating parts for percussion where none previously existed and sometimes weaving his melodica into the harmonic tapestry. Together the four, who hail from a burgeoning and diverse scene of young improvisers based in Brooklyn, create an elegant ensemble voice well-suited to the breadth of Ives’s style.
This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).