Monday, May 28, 2012

Travis Sullivan New Directions Posi-Tone 2011

The Posi-Tone debut is a delightful and slightly eclectic mix of well grounded original compositions and some covers you may expect. Sullivan tends to opt for the more stylistic approach as opposed to coming from the speed is king and odd meter school which does little more than make the artist the newest member of the flavor of the month club.

Sullivan's original work is intriguing with no imposed self limitations there are variations in tempo, mood and lyrical direction that while still firmly planted within the modern jazz genre allow for a more multi-directional approach to his compositions. As a 4tet Sullivan has struck gold in terms of forming a cohesive unit. The hard bop oriented "Tuneology" walks dangerously close to the more free jazz cliff but never pushes the listener over the edge as there is always an air of accessibility to these tunes. "Autumn In NH" is a bit more wistful if not slightly melancholy but adds a nice touch of depth and character to an incredibly well paced and evenly developed recording. Ebb and flow. The cover of the Rodgers and Hart "Spring Is Here" borders on gorgeous. The most unlikely surprise of the release would be the cover of the Tears For Fear's 1980's pop smash, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World." What the tune lacks in the transference of jazz sensibilities it more than makes up for with the whimsical swing of Sullivan and and pianist Mike Eckroth.

Walking the musical tightrope between instrumentalist and composer has allowed Sullivan the opportunity to create one of the more surprising releases of 2011. The one they may have gotten away! If you missed this release initially it is well worth the time to check it out now!

Tracks: Jamia's Dance' Autumn In NH; Tuneology; Hidden Agenda; Spring Is Here; Georgie; Everybody Wants To Rule The World; Leap Of Faith; Magic Monday; New Directions.

Personnel: Travis Sullivan: alto saxophone; Mike Eckroth: piano; Marco Panascia: bass; Brian Fishler: drums.