Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jason Stein - The Story This Time - Delmark

Bass clarinetist Jason Stein is no joke! Not only does he possess the chops of all jazz languages bop to beyond he can write some catchy tunes on which to improvise. Making his horn mate Keefe Jackson stand out as never before “The Story This Time” (Delmark), this debut recording certainly rates mention right under the radar as one of the best recordings ending out 2011.

For a debut Stein and his music messengers are most in sync sounding like a top notch, well heeled organism. Their breaths are unified and correspondent. They sing and shout. Groove and smoothly move. The disc begins with the spite Warne Marsh line, ‘Background Music’ proving their metal in bop based standard fare. Yet we are thrown right into the mix of Ornette-ish sensibilities with the very next cut, “Laced Case”, where Stein’s other worldly horn speak conjures Marshall Allen’s sphere of space influence and Jackson playing off him scopes moods that are eerie yet bright and full of hope.
Tenorist Keefe Jackson a fine leader and composer in his own right is in peak form - proving that both he and Stein are quite truly individual voices on their instruments. Jackson sonically aught be linked with Chicago’s Ed Wilkerson, himself a highly uncommon stylist but that’s about where comparisons end. One can tell/hear Jackson has worked hard over the years on achieving an style all his own.
Drummer Frank Rosaly has too gained a measure of authority as a distinguishable drummer for all occasions. He can be stunningly spare, tip the swing lightly and bust up some omni-directional rhythms in the blink of an eye. He can do it all. As can bassist Josh Abrams, always an anchor for any session.
This is an above the ordinary session that could prove to be ground breaking if given the proper airplay and media mention. Jason Stein is on the precipice of stardom. He can write humm-a-ble tunes and best of all play his bass clarinet-ass off!
Special mention to very fine liner notes by Bill Meyer. Detailed and exhaustive bio and historic perspectives are dead on.