Lord, but this seems to be The Month of Intelligent Music! No sooner did I finish listening to Scott Robinson's dynamite Bronze Menace (here) than Eric Jekabson's disc found its way into my player, hooked a right, and headed for Chamberjazzland in a set of 11 compsitions penned to reflect the DeYoung Museum's art collection. Where Robinson is a sonic mad scientist, a Hyde of wild and daunting profundity, Jekabson is Dr. Jekyll: urbane, refined, mannered, and probably fresh from the medical marijuana…again…for scientific purposes of course!, taking bourgeois pleasures and subverting them slowly over to where they should be, where the gentry would be most profited by letting its patrician hair down.
Jekabson plays trumpet, as well as a little flugelhorn (showing definite Kenny Wheeler affinities) and vibes, and he recruited a quintet of cohorts, most notably the inimitable Mads Tolling on violin, to flank his decorous ECM-ish adventures. Eric knows how to traipse outside predominant patorales as well but prefers to keep his skronk to a minimum, as contrastive offset rather than dominant predilection, and even when he does venture out of doors, the rest of the group keeps a tight rein on the entablature, their end-section build-up, for instance, in A New Beginning captivating, a wave rising, fated to settle back into its firmament.
On the other hand, Portrait of Miss D be-bops nicely around the venue's halls, dancing a Harlem neon nocturne fueled by funk and cognac. Jekabson's trumpet starts out mellowly flugelhornish, then gets racier, but manneredly so, John Wiitala's bass revealed to outline the happy bloodpulse beneath everything. At some point, you're going to want to straighten your cravat and re-center that silver monocle, as the impish grin wafting across your mien will give you away as something of a rogue and groundling, but the central half hour of the disc, Interlude and Anti-Mass, is a matter of classic ECM, moody and half mystical while stoutly residing in the lands we know, so take it as it comes regardless of social persuasion. Sooner or later, however, you're going to forget where you started…and not care where you end. How often can you say that of something?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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