Friday, October 19, 2012

Eric Person Thoughts On God Distinction 2012

A most ambitious recording finds veteran saxophonist and composer Eric Person set to drop Thoughts On God on Nov. 02, 2012. For those keeping score this would be Person's ninth disc as a leader with the fifth on his own Distinction Records label and first funded through the Kickstarter program which has found other prolific saxophonists including Wayne Escoffery from the Tom Harrell Quintet utilizing their services as well.

Person's inspiring work is backed by a thirteen piece ensemble and is in face some of his most powerful work of his career. While the secular humanists and those that cringe while trying to hide behind "separation of church and state" despite the fact those exact words appear nowhere in the Constitution are bound to get a little tight on might well be described as contemporary jazz christian but churches in the United States having been using jazz in their services with one particular church in the Bay Area having utilized jazz as part of their worship going back to the cities. So why does it take so long for established and well respected artists to get these releases into the hands of the public?

A work that is backed up with some of the Big Apple's finest "A" list talent is a direct reflection of where Person is coming from on a spiritual level as well a medium in which to give thanks for the blessings he has received both in his everyday life and career. "And Then There Was Light" is of course a burner brought forth from the Genesis inspired title. "Soothes The Soul" is a dramatic ballad and a master class in harmonic movement. There is an ebb and flow within the song building a lyrical direction with dynamic tension culminating with a wonderful clarinet solo from Patience Higgins. Person's person favorite is "Never Far From His Grace" is perhaps Eric Person's favorite as the tune works through itself with the elegance of a Duke Ellington tune with inspired solos from this mini yet deceptively large big band that Person brought together for this most inspiring of tunes. 

There is a natural and understandable concern from some fans that this is a "religious" record. Google the difference between religion and spirituality  and most of you can rest easy. This is an epic spiritual "thank you note" in the same musical vein as John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Thoughts On God is according to Person a gift to the world. Person's acknowledgement that by making music of creativity and power then the world is made a better place as a result. Thoughts On God is the core of respect for tradition, the celebration of innovation, and the spiritual essence of being comfortable enough in your own skin to offer your own heartfelt appreciation for the blessing you have and continue to receive on a daily basis.  As someone that is a political Independent that tends to bat from the conservative side of the plate, I am often assumed to be a regular in church. Over the last 20 years I may have set foot in a church ten times for either a wedding or a funeral which are essentially the same even occurring simultaneously so I can tell those who may be insecure in their own belief system that Thoughts On God is a positive reflective sonic diary. A beautiful pick me up when one may feel a little beat down, Eric Person has nailed the concept here perfectly!

Tracks: All Those With Ears To Hear; And Then There Was Light; Creation Celebration; Soothes The Soul; Never Far From His Grace; Back To Center; Song Of Praise; Joy Complete; The Blessing; The Lighted Way; Gratitude; Faith Forward. 

Personnel: Eric Person: alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Craig Bailey: alto sax, flute; Patience Higgins: tenor sax, clarinet; Sylvester Scott: tenor sax, flute; Scott Robinson: baritone sax; James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn; Duane Eubanks: trumpet, flugelhorn; Curits Hasselbring: trombone; Isrea Butler: trombone, bass trombone; Bryan Carrott: vibraphone; Adam Kipple: piano; Adam Armstrong: bass; electric bass; Shinnosuke Takahashi: drums.