As a trumpet player Jekabson is based in the Bay area and falls into that jazz triple threat category with ease. As a virtuoso instrumentalist, critical thinking composer and educator we find a new shooter to the conceptual world that is finding a musical happy place somewhere between the post modern jazz and neo-classical hybrids that are floating around in cyber space. Inspiration is often from personal experiences, life changing events, or in tribute to the masters that have come before. Jekabson takes a more direct approach allowing art to inspire his art and his recently formed String-tet. The back story on this release is that Jekabson received a grant to write a composition inspired by a piece of artwork in the DeYoung Museum. The title track Anti-Mass was widely accepted in his area and from one tune and a few more trips to the museum Jekabson scored yet another grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music to begin work with his string-tet in July of 2011 with the end results a textured sonic exploratory of eleven tunes titled Anti-Mass.
Opening with the spatial slightly post modern "Silence" Jekabson commands your undivided attention as this open ended piece moves with a wondrous emotive quality somewhere between introspective and the melancholy. The subtle nuance of the vibraphone adds a zen like texture that is captivating. "Strontium" is a syncopated assault on both the cerebral and visceral while remaining incredibly accessible and highlight with the violin titan Mads Toling. The instrumentation of trumpet, tenor sax, violin, viola, string bass and drums allow the group to shift dynamics on the fly with this particular tune bordering on the more free jazz meets hard bop approach. Layers of texture begin to inspire as the organic pulse seems to pick up steam. The title track "Anti-Mass" which comes in at 15:37 is certainly the longest piece. The dynamic tension created by Jekabson allows the ensemble to move and shift dynamics with a smoldering free flow approach. The string section acts as threads in a beautiful sonic mosaic holding the harmonic synergy together while Jekabson displays his own sense of sonic fury.
The hybridization of jazz seems to have been on the rise over the last two years. Erik Jekabson is taking the sonic road less traveled. Some might ask for a musical frame of reference, while they are at times inherently unfair think Miles Davis meets Enrico Rava. Jekabson is his own voice and by finding his own sound Anti-Mass takes flight.
An absolutely stunning recording and quite possibly the direction the straight ahead scene has needed for some time. This is a no brainer...I found that new sound I was looking for!
Tracks: Silence; Strontium; Park Stroll; A New Beginning; Interlude; Anti-Mass; Interlude 2; Portrait of Miss D; The Cello Player; To Be DeYoung Again; Afternoon On The Sea; Monhegan.
Personnel: Erik Jekabson: trumpet, flugelhorn (4), vibes (11); Dayna Stephans: tenor sax; Mads Tolling: violin; Charith Prewardhana: viola; John Wiitala: bass; Smith Dobson: drums, vibes (1,5,7).