Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bob Stewart Connections Mind The Gap Sunnyside 2014

Bob Stewart
Bob Stewart is a master innovator of improvisational music!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
And now for something complete different...Connections - Mind The Gap is an organic mix of classical, blues and improvisational music that is built around the tuba. Jazz tuba is nothing new yet the inherent misconception is that the instruments natural "limitations" which include being the lowest pitched brass instrument would have the tuba relegated to the roll of orchestral music on a good day. Bob Stewart is to tuba what Miles Davis was to the trumpet, an improvisational revolutionary and now highly respected educator since joining the ranks of those teaching at Julliard.
Connections - Mind The Gap transcends genre and expectations, a cacophony of sound and texture with jump cuts that use harmonic gaps to great effect. A three dimensional sonic depth of field. There are two ensembles featured with the first, Bob Stewart and The Front Line Band. The Front Line band shines on the Charles Mingus tune "Jump Monk" which would seem the ideal showpiece thanks to the intervals. The other ensemble would be the PUBLIQuartet which embraces a slightly more esoteric view of what is widely considered chamber jazz. Bob Stewart's son Curtis is an active member with both ensembles on his technical proficiency on violin adds an eclectic element of surprise and amazing depth. The Astor Piazolla composition "Libertango" is a hand in glove fit for the ensemble thanks to the tango feel suiting the tuba perfectly. One of the more surprising tracks would be the Taj Mahal tune "Fishin' Blues" which is a dialed down blues that works well in this somewhat deconstructed presentation.
Bob Stewart has worked with artists that include Taj Mahal, Gil Evans, and Charles Mingus. The minimalist presentation in a small ensemble setting is typical of the harmonic vision that Stewart continues to explore. A remarkable release of inspiring virtuosity.
Tracks: Red, Simone, Aqua, Bush Baby, Fishin' Blues, The Poet, Odessa, Libertango, Purple, Monk's Mood, Nothing To Say, Makina, Hand By Hand, Jump Monk, Red 2.
Personnel: First Line Band:
Curtis Stewart: Violin, Jerome Harris: Guitar, Vocal; Randall Haywood: Trumpet; Nick Finzer: Trombone; Matt Wilson: Drums.
Curtis Stewart: Violin, Jannina Norpoth: Violin, Nick Revel; Viola, Amanda Goerkin: Cello.