Saturday, December 28, 2013

Russ Nolan Relentless Rhinoceruss Music 2014

The relentless Russ Nolan is back with an aptly titled Latin tour de force!
Brent Black /
Russ Nolan goes all in on his own talent with the end result an organic Latin jazz feast that smolders with authenticity and lyrical development. Good tenor players dot the improvisational landscape, great tenor players makes records like Russ Nolan.  A lyrical sense of purpose with a gritty Latin groove accentuated with the counterpoint of the great Manuel Valera on piano we kick off 2014 with a release worthy of special note. The land of rhythm and groove is explored with the rhythm section of bassist Michael O'Brien and drummer Brian Fishler along with stellar percussionist Yasuyo Kimura.

Relentless explores the Latin sensibilities of the samba and bossa nova but in a deceptively subtle Stan Getz meets Sonny Rollins kind of way where both the rhythmic pulse and lyrical sense of purpose work together to create a percussive pop of flavor highlighted by Grammy-nominated Manuel Valera whose three dimensional sonic depth of field elevates Nolan's game to the next level. Originals from Nolan of note include "Cassa Cerrado" which is an Afro-Cuban groove developed by Nolan during a seventh month stint with an organ trio in mid-town Manhattan. Nolan showcases his versatility on soprano with the title track built around the changes from the Wayne Shorter piece "Fall." This foot to the floor approach to the samba is further highlighted with pianist Valera and with spectacular results as each has their own turn at  a solo exploratory built around the lyrical development of this gem. Covers are few but incredibly special with the Duke Ellington tune "Solitude" and an amazing reharm of the Stephen Sondheim ballad "While I'm Not Around."

Relentless works amazingly well thanks to the fact it is compositionally diverse as it is straight ahead in presentation. We all love A.C. Jobim but Latin jazz and the Afro-Cuban movement has even deeper roots and only an artist that can appreciate the necessity to function as one with the rhythm section as does Nolan could pull off such an engaging recording to kick off 2014.
A winner!
Tracks: Relentless; Cassa Cerrado; Now While I'm Around; It Ain't Childs Play; Solitude; Mr. Moore; Limbo; Abakua.