A couple of nice reviews of some of my recent recordings have just been published.
Jay Collins’ review of Similar in the Opposite Way appears in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Cadence.
New Orleans-based trombonist Jeff Albert is one of that city’s creative music scene’s leading lights, a feat for a locale that seems a far cry from improv hotbeds found elsewhere. Though he has worked with some of the region’s legends, as well as a host of various collaborators and stylistic orbits, his interests appear to lie squarely within the improvisational Jazz domain. To wit, Albert has a particularly strong connection to Chicago, with Albert’s excellent Nolo/Chi town project, the Lucky 7s, with fellow bone player, Jeb Bishop, speaking to such impressions of the “New Orleans/Chicago continuum.” This inside/outside fence-straddling also inspires Albert’s quartet on Similar in the Opposite Way, his second release from this ensemble.
The ten cuts heard here, played marvelously by Albert in the company of his front-line foil (alto saxophonist Ray Moore) along-side the rhythm pairing of bassist Tommy Sciple and drummer Dave Cappello, provide a glimpse into Albert’s compositional mindset, one that mixes jazz snappers, improv sparks, funky grooves, all with an undercurrent of Blues. As for the record’s most approachable numbers, a speedy swing vamp of the title track eases the program in, while the jagged march of “9th Ward Trotsky” offers a glimpse into the simpatico relationship between Albert and Moore, and “Bag Full of Poboys” presents the album’s most jovial moments due to its earthy strut. Speaking of pulse, the Sciple-Cappello team is charismatic throughout, with a propulsive wing locked down on “Folk Song” and the resilient beat on the closer, “Rooskie Cyclist.”
The band also exudes enthusiasm when taking improvisatory leaps. A restless sentiment inspires “I Was Just Looking For My Pants” that trapezes between jagged jaunts to airy whispers, with all members adding their individualist charms, while rhythmic complexity marks the scrappy “Chalk and Chocolate” and the joyously jittery “Morph My Cheese.” With Albert’s capacious compositional foundation drawing upon multiple influences, an intriguing front line interplay and stalwart rhythmic crunch, Similar in the Opposite Way presents superlative creative music.
The October 2009 issue of Relix features this review of the Lucky 7s Pluto Junkyard:
The 60’s era spirits of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch and Archie Shepp’s group with Bobby Hutcherson permeate the Lucky 7s Pluto Junkyard. The links to those stellar jazz references are a certain looseness mixed with an urge to swing, as well as the omnipresence of the vibraphone. Trombonist Jeff Albert, straight out of New Orleans by way of Chicago, leads his septet through a variety of moods, from energetic “#6” to somber and the unexpected “Pluto Junkyard” and “Ash.” As with the previous Farragut, Pluto Junkyard mixes elements of traditional jazz counterpoint with a free-jazz spirit, similar to Dolphy or Shepp, but more so on the traditional side. Albert creates a fresh, small orchestra vibe similar to Dave Holland’s recent quintets with help from fellow trombonist Jeb Bishop, cornetist Josh berman, tenorist Keefe Jackson, bassit Matthew Golombisky, drummer Quin Kirchner, and especially vibist Jason Adasiewicz.
Note: The Lucky 7s are actually co-led by Jeff Albert and Jeb Bishop, I am not sure why the review mis-represented that.