Monday, October 5, 2009

Ari Roland, His Bass and His Brand of Hard Bopping Jazz

Luke Kaven in his capacity as owner/a & r man/producer of Smalls Records has the almost uncanny knack of organizing sessions that feature working musicians with a non-diluted approach to Hard Bop and after, players who go at the music with all the fervor of the original masters of this style.

Bassist Ari Roland is certainly one of those. His classic walking, his Paul Chambers' inspired arco flights, his driving compositions, all of this makes him a natural as band leader for a top-notch blowing date. And that's just what you get on his CD New Music.

Roland is joined by some game practitioners. Chris Beyers, on alto and tenor, invokes the tradition without sounding stale. He has his own way, and it does not involve copying licks. Sacha Perry too has mastered the style and fully digested the salient aspects of it without plagiarizing. Then there is Keith Balla on drums. He swings.

This is no polite, diluted traditionalism for those who want standards done with anemic inoffensiveness. This is the real thing. This is the living music.

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