Monday, December 6, 2010

Joe Gilman Gives Us Something Substantial on “Americanvas”

I ordinarily give the first one or two listens to a new CD for review without reading the liners or other written descriptions of the musicians and the music. So it was with Joe Gilman’s new Americanvas (Capri 74105-2). This way the music speaks to me directly and I get a more or less pure first experience of what’s going on.

As I listened I started realizing that there was something original happening. Hard-swinging soloing, a very good band
. . . but the writing was unusual. Some repetition in a quasi-minimalist sense, some unusual phrasings. When I finally went to the reading material I found that pianist-composer Gilman was devoting each composition-improvisation sequence to a particular American painter and one of his works. So you get one on Haring, on Rockwell, Rothko, etc.

Gilman sounds great on piano and the rest of the band, largely made up of up-and-coming younger players, has fire and facility.

It is music that hits you as not at all beholden to the formulas of the past. It’s a straight-ahead jazz date with a ballsy countenance and a definite twist on how one can do a contemporary date and also avoid the typical.

Highly recommended music. Thank you Mr. Gilman.

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