Wednesday, June 8, 2011

David Weiss & Point of Departure - Snuck In / Snuck Out - Sunnyside

Trumpeter David Weiss is what in jazz parlance is called a, “musicians musician”. The group assembled for these performances are top notch. As Weiss duty bound is always in the ‘now’ and has with every new recording and performance a real sense of historic value. He values his role as arbiter of the advanced garde. This two volume set is culled from performances at the Jazz Standard, March 2008 and a studio date a year later.
Point of Departure’s palette is culled from a curious cabinet indeed. Selecting tunes from the dustbin of time Weiss gets plenty of life out of several Charles Moore compositions. A nod to the Detroit trumpeter’s timeless writing are the title cut, ‘Snuck In’, ‘Gravity Point’ and ‘Number Four’. Moore’s twin 60’s recordings of the vaunted but under recognized Contemporary Jazz Quintet are gems to be re-thought and this time by a new generation. Thanks to Weiss! Given an invigorating redress Point of Departure revels in such faire as Tony Williams’ “Black Comedy”; Shorter’s “Paraphernalia” and absolutely high charge Charles Tolliver’s “Revillot” to great effect.
J.D. Allen, already an established voice over the past decade is still making a case for one of the most exciting soloists of our time. His oblique Shorteresque dips and tilts are drama filled with attentive detail. Suffice it to say with the virtual glut of tenors jousting for attention these days Allen is heads & shoulders far above the fray. He’s a major cat! Juxtaposed with Weiss they make for a helluva up front team.
Weiss’s own tough cut, hard edge solos are mid-60ish Miles filled volleys of strength and purpose. Taking a back seat to no one he oft reminds of a Jack Walrath sans the mirth. Could Allen be Weiss’s Carter Jefferson? I’d dare wonder....
The wild card carrying member of the group is guitarist Nir Felder. By no stretch is Felder a ‘jazz’ guitarist. Not in the strictest sense of the word, lending this group an ethereal other world edginess. His subtle yet drifting riffs, fragmented chordal sequences are ‘rock centered’ often conflicting head-on with the harmonic nuance of the melodic content. This makes for an uneasy listen. Tension, yes. Unifying harmony, no. A Bobby Broom, Steve Cardenas or even a wild-ass David Fiuczynski might have lent more of a grounded flavor and bite. A tastiness and sequential appeal - cut to cut. Given time Felder may come into his own - that is if he doesn’t answer his calling in the ‘rock’ genre.
Drummer Jamire Williams is steady motion. A rhythm wealth of refreshing boldness of a free wheeling thunder. Whereas the steady bassist Matt Clohesy adhesively nails the bottom down.
Both recordings are a seamless unified whole and should be listened to as such. With all the music Point of Departure pumped out at the Jazz Standard that weekend there’s gotta be more to share...a clamoring audience awaits.