Saturday, May 19, 2012

Noah Haidu Slipstream Posi-Tone 2011

Another captivating release they may have slipped past you from 2011 would have to be Slipstream from accomplished pianist Noah Haidu. Some may recognize Haidu's name from the jazz collective Native Soul while for a great many Haidu is a relatively new discovery in the modern jazz meets hard bop discovery that Posi-Tone has built their stellar reputation on. A precise use of chromatics yet with a wandering harmonic ear the sense of melody matches the ebb and flow of Slipstream.

The horns consisting of Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and Jon Irabagon on alto sax seem to relish the spotlight as they launch a full frontal assault on the melody while Haidu pursues a more rhythmic approach to his work. Slipstream works because Pelt and Irabagon never take the more self indulgent approach despite given ample opportunity and the end result is the working band feel of some releases from the classic Blue Note era. "Soulstep" is a nicely controlled syncopated romp with a straight ahead vibe coupled with an intriguing rhythmic beat on the melodic line as played by Haidu. Pelt's solo is impressive as this is a trumpet player that only gets better with each subsequent release by adapting to the creative process at hand. A musical chameleon. Jon Irabagon is one of the finer alto sax players you may have never heard of but is a perfect fit in this cohesive ensemble. "Slipstream" is a tasteful somewhat mid tempo cooker that again explores the more rhythmic side of Haidu and is punctuated with just the right amount of pop and vitality without turning this tune or release into the old fashioned blowing session thus burying the prolific talents of Haidu. Naturally there has to be a standard wedged in somewhere and on Slipstream we find one of the best in Cole Porter's "Just One Of Those Things." A slightly odd metered tune with a slight reharmonization of the melody and the tempo taken up a notch, Haidu then personifies all that is good and right with swing. A tune and approach definitely in Haidu's wheelhouse.

Noah Haidu is fearless on this release as he works without a harmonic net and allows each participant the opportunity to let their own unique voice shine through. While other side projects from Haidu have consistently showcased an emerging talent, the ensemble on this Posi-Tone release as the potential to elevate his musical stock quickly. A true working band with a leader that understands a musical chain is only as strong as the weakest link find Haidu performing at the very apex of his talent. A must for the collector and for any serious student of piano.

Tracks: Soulstep; Where We Are Right Now; Slipstream; Break Tune; Float; Take Your Time; Just One Of Those Things; The Trouble Makers.

Personnel: Noah Haidu: piano, Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Jon Irabagon: alto sax; Chris Haney: bass; John Davis: drums; Willie Jones III: drums (1,3,6).