Dom Minasi’s Review of Jimmy Bennington’s No Lunch In Hackensack

2-up  2 Panel CD Booklet“No Lunch In Hackensack”,  Jimmy Bennington – drums, Steve Cohn – piano,  Unseen Rain Records – foUR9979

Unseen Rain Records is a fairly new company, created by guitarist Jack DeSalvo, that in the last few years has put some superb recordings and this is one of them. Most of the record is free form, but there are some spots that go into time. No matter, whatever these guys play, it is interesting, bold and fresh. Jimmy is a champion of subtlety, which comes through loud and clear on this record. Steve’s playing leaves nothing to be desired. If you want to hear the history of modern jazz just listen to what Steve does in “The Days of Wine and Roses”.  From Monk, Bill Evans , Cecil Taylor and now Steve Cohn. Every tune on the recording stands out. These are musician’s musicians.  -Dom Minasi


Review of Joris Teepe’s workaholic on JazzFlits

UR9953.Workaholic_cover_CDBJust a cursory glance at the biography and discography of bassist, composer and producer Joris Teepe makes you smile in the title of his latest album. Since his arrival in New York (in 1992) he is a much sought after musician. And that’s an understatement. His contributions to recordings of others, as bassist, composer and producer are not small and the list of musicians with whom he played is great. And then there are the albums he released under his own name of which “Workaholic” is the eleventh in the row. It is inevitable that one is formed by all these experiences. Joris Teepe, who deliberately developed as a musician through his career. “Workaholic” is there like a reflection of this, but perhaps also as a way of listening to a statement of his musical development and
the formation of an idiom that could be described as eclectic expressiveness. That’s what you hear in his compositions and in his bass playing. The mixing of the different styles and bringing together different influences does  not lead
Joris Teepe to an unmanageable hodgepodge. On the contrary, the compositions create an ambiance in “Workaholic” that is fresh and spontaneous. It is strongly expressive with a notion of history standing in a rich jazz tradition. This is partly due to a group of outstanding musicians, including
Mike Clark, once drummer with Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. The
band plays tight, fancifully, swinging and playful. The recording is
well produced, sounds clear and “close”, giving you the feeling of
being there. ‘Workaholic’ is the statement of a lover – a jazz musician that sings.
Frank Huser
Original article in Dutch HERE

Audiophile Audition Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

Jazz CD Reviews

Pat Hall – “Time Remembered” – The Music of Bill Evans [TrackList follows] – Unseen Rain

An unusual quartet takes an equally unusual run through Bill Evans territory.

Published on October 2, 2014


Pat Hall – “Time Remembered” – The Music of Bill Evans [TrackList follows] – Unseen Rain UR9960, 65:37 [8/5/14] ***1/2:

(Pat Hall – trombone; Marvin Sewell – guitar; Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis – Hammond B-3 organ; Mike Campenni – drums)

When jazz listeners think of pianist Bill Evans, the farthest thing from their thoughts is probably a quartet featuring trombone, Hammond B-3 organ, drums and guitar. Which is why trombonist Pat Hall’s tribute to the late, great EvansTime Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans—will doubtless roil the hackles of jazz purists. This hour-long excursion is not a reverent outing, but an open-minded re-imagining of music written by or associated with Evans. Members of the so-called ‘jazz police’ should not bother with this album. If, however, you want to hear a record which embraces the spirit of Evans through artistry and vision, rather than well-intentioned but derisory mimicry, then Hall’s third album for the Unseen Rain label may be appealing. Time Remembered was initially offered only as a high-definition digital download, but this review refers to the newer, CD version issued in early August of this year. [It is also offered as an MP3, which is all Amazon has.]

This isn’t the first time Hall has turned to homage. Two years ago he released Happy House, an accolade to Ornette Coleman’s early, chord-less music. But Time Remembered is more assured and fearless: abandoning piano to perform Evans’ music takes self-confidence. But Hall, guitarist Marvin Sewell (who has backed Cassandra Wilson, Jason Moran and others), Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis (on Hammond B-3) and drummer Mike Campenni create a stimulating set which is exploratory and progressive.

The inspired re-structuring is notable on all seven tunes, and in particular on the lengthiest track, a 12-minute rethink of Evans’ most famous composition, “Waltz for Debby.” Lewis commences with a long rubato solo before the rest of the foursome join in the 4/4 arrangement. Hall has a lively improvisation as he takes center stage. Here, and elsewhere, Hall showcases his ‘bone brilliance, evoking at times J.J. Johnson’s bop styling, and other times Grachan Moncur or Roswell Rudd’s edgier tone. Sewell is understated and in the background, although he displays an angularity when he does a solo spotlight, his bright notes skipping across his fretboard. Campenni utilizes an array of resourceful percussive nuances which deliver a contextual support. Three other Evans compositions are correspondingly prominent. “Know What I Mean?” begins with a moody, atmospheric prologue, but then quickly enters bop-ish terrain as an up-tempo groove is maintained. Hall explodes with an intrepid improv, the notes swelling. Sewell follows suit, although his sound isn’t as heady, and Lewis takes the third solo with a propulsive surge which brings to mind one of his heroes, Larry Young. Campenni has the final solo, where he uses rolling sticks across his tom and cymbals. Evans was an abundantly lyrical player, and his sense of shimmer and low simmer is presented during the transcendent title track, although even here Hall and his band take chances. Lewis slices in some otherworldly chords more akin to Sun Ra than Evans; and Sewell’s guitar runs are also meatier than might be expected. Hard bop is the name of the game on the closer, a swinging version of “Peri’s Scope,” where syncopation is paramount and the arrangement is the most traditional of the seven cuts.

Evans covered many pieces penned by others, so Hall had lots to choose from. The opening number, “Gloria’s Step,” is by bassist Scott La Faro, best known for his seminal work with the Bill Evans Trio. Hall’s quartet pushes this into an upbeat and fast-paced interpretation. Hall has the longest solo section: his fervor is fuelled by Lewis’ organ, which ably replicates Hall’s fire. Sewell also adds in a first-rate guitar solo. On the opposite side, Rodgers and Hart’s beautiful ballad, “Spring Is Here,” gets under way with a sunlit stride highlighted by Hall’s limpid trombone. Eventually, the arrangement notches higher to a mid-tempo posture, with fluid guitar and sparkly organ leading the way. Composer Earl Zindars’ “Elsa,” which Evans helped turn into a jazz standard, has a swinging timbre similar to “Peri’s Scope.” Lewis and Sewell offer longer organ and guitar tones and both solo with an ease of facility only years of work can do. The proceedings were nicely mixed, recorded and engineered at Tom Tedesco’s Paramus, New Jersey studio. {UR Webmaster’s note – recording was mixed and mastered by Jim DeSalvo at Beanstudio, though recorded at Tedesco} Anyone who wants to see and hear the band can watch a video with excerpts from the sessions. Tedesco gives the material a lissome quality: the recording has a live feel but also a subtle characteristic, not as noisy as likeminded projects, which suits Hall’s intentions and the melodic elements. One caveat: Chris Kelsey’s erudite and edifying liner notes are not included in the CD package (only an incorrect web address is listed). Instead, they are only available online, but are worth reading for those who may want to purchase this release.

TrackList: Gloria’s Step; Waltz for Debby; Spring Is Here; Elsa; Know What I Mean?; Time Remembered; Peri’s Scope.

—Doug Simpson

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All About Jazz Review of Pat Hall: Time Remembered

Patrick Hall: Time Remembered: The Music Of Bill Evans (2014)


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Patrick Hall: Time Remembered: The Music Of Bill Evans

The unconventional inside a conventional skin. That’s what we have here with trombonist Pat Hall’s offering Time Remembered: The Music of Bill Evans. Playing it from the bottom up, so to speak, Hall’s approach to the Evans corpus (along with two standards associated with the late pianist, Rodgers and Hart’s “Spring Is Here” and Earl Zindars’ “Elsa”) is also unconventional due the presence of organist Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis laying down the chordal framework. Along with guitarist Martin Sewell and drummer Mike Campenni, these seven covers are played relatively straightforward, with few twists and turns to accompany the unique instrumentation upfront.One of the strengths of Time Remembered, as with any successful interpretative project, is hearing Evans’ music convincingly played through another musical prism. In a sense, it takes balls to essentially change the palette of an artist who is known more (at least for the majority of his career) for introspective, dreamy and impressionistic jazz. Instead, what we get with Time Remembered is music laced with elements of grease, plangent tones, not to mention groove. The band mostly swings through up-tempo versions of the songs here, with the exception of the title track and “Spring Is Here.”

Perhaps a model example of what I mean can be heard with the band’s up-tempo drive on “Elsa,” where the waltz becomes a kind of merry go round of solos inside heads and tails of the melody that seem almost abrupt; as if everyone had their ears leaning toward the exploration of this lovely theme. Likewise “Know What I Mean?” which seems more like a vehicle for blowing than a tune selected for its melodic content. That’s just fine here, because some of the best playing surfaces with Hall leading the charge, his rhythmic feel for this up-tempo swing along with fluid note choices that combine a sense of urgency with a facility to hit those notes at every point on the register have us forgetting this is a Bill Evans number. Add some of Lewis and Sewell’s best playing here as they seemingly glide across the changes (along with seamless bass pedal work from Lewis) and you get the impression this is a tight rhythm section, a rhythm section that finds Campenni’s drumming elastic, supportive, unobtrusive and above all swinging.

On the whole, Time Remembered isn’t an introspective visit to the music of Bill Evans. Even “Time Remembered,” a classic ballad from Evans early years as a solo artist, is ultimately rendered as a medium-tempo swinger as the band works it way through and past the song’s evocative theme. That said, their version again showcases Hall’s facility on the trombone, with a clear tone that carries a typically flat resonance that still manages to soar.

Given the strengths and staying power of Bill Evans’ compositions, most of which carry unusual chord substitutions, novel intervals and a definitive rhythmic approach, it’s no wonder these versions would tend to be played straight down the middle, conventional more by normative jazz standards. Contrast this recording with, for example, guitarist John McLaughlin’s own Time Remembered (Verve), where the instruments are all acoustic, the guitarist accompanied by a string quartet of four guitars and one bassist in what is ultimately a very classical, almost otherworldly and perhaps too respectful tribute. By way of contrast, this more recent release—heard through the musical lens of this quartet’s sound—is no doubt shaped and corralled by Evans’ strong musical personality but, in the end, plays like a band in a groove that just happens to be filled up with some pretty memorable tunes.

Track Listing: Gloria’s Step; Waltz For Debby; Spring Is Here; Elsa; Know What I Mean?; Time Remembered; Peri’s Scope.

Personnel: Pat Hall, trombone; Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis, Hammond B3 organ; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Mike Campenni, drums.

Record Label: Unseen Rain Records


CD Available Soon, Downloads Available Now.

By Josh Campbell

A very interesting album from Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro. The concept, and I love concept albums, is to use Monk compositions and Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic methods. Interestingly, we find John Pietraro on the vibraphone in addition to percussion leading to a unique duet. Matt Lavelle is found on his standard cornet/flugelhorn as well as alto clarinet which we have been seeing more of from Matt. A healthy offering at an hour and a half, Matt and John work their magic on recognizable standards, with a pleasant twist. Matt’s cornet and flugelhorn have never sounded better, bold and meaty, especially on the excellently executed “In Walked Bud”. Other standouts, “Blue Monk/ Straight No Chaser”, and the spacious and oozing with blues “Round Midnight”, showcase Matt on the alto clarinet. Recorded with an intimate feel it can be hard to remember you’re not actually in the room with the musicians.

Even though the album is worth hearing and adding to your collection, at 1 hr 33 mins it does tend to drag a little. I would have liked to hear more percussion mixed into the album, even with the strong performance of John on the vibes it was a challenge over the span of the album to keep focus. The cornet and flugelhorn, being the main instrument I’m familiar with Matt playing, were much stronger than his alto clarinet. Aside from his stellar showing on “Round Midnight”, I found myself preferring his sax playing.

While not an album that I would return to every day, it is a performance and concept so unique and creative it should be investigated by fans who have yet to hear it. And even though it is not my favorite release from Matt, it reenforces my ever growing admiration for his playing and creativity.

Downloads available HERE