Saturday, October 19, 2013

In Review--Music for Us and Them

Project Them
A Jazz Collective 
Miles High Records

When veteran jazz musicians get together and collaborate, the music that results is often invigorating and in-the-moment.  Project Them, a collective (and album title), including: Bob Franceschini (saxophone and flute), Mark Sherman (vibraphone), Mitchel Forman (piano and organ), Martin Gjakonovski (bass), Adam Nussbaum (drums) and Paolo Di Sabatino (piano), contains performances where you can feel the musicians admiring and honoring each other’s talents.  They aim for a big ensemble sound with strong melodies, and intriguing musical texture.  And a track such as, Close Enough for Love, leaves a romantic imprint with its sweet use of vibraphone, piano, and a laidback rhythm section.

However, don’t think for a minute that we’re listening to “smooth jazz” here.  One listen to rousing opener, Submissive Dominants with high-end drums, driving bass and go-man-go saxophone, will leave you feeling alive and kicking.  We’re talking echoes of John Coltrane more robust moments.  Sleight of Hand also occupies wilder jazz territory with a lilting motif repeated on saxophone.  Also listen for vibraphone and piano solos on this number.  A Short Swing rides along at a medium tempo and possesses a joyful melody, played on saxophone then followed up with vibraphone.  Ma Bo’s Waltz slows it down again and here we have a whimsical and swirly melody that Franceschini’s flute launches into being.  For whatever reason, I’m reminded more of Brazilian bossa nova, than a waltz.

For these phenomenal musicians, Project Them acts as a dream manifested.  According to the liner notes, these musicians had dreamed of working together in the past, and now after years of seasoning their musical gifts, they bring it all together creating a musical project, for not just them, but for us too.

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