Gene Segal's Mental Images is an intriguing lyrical conversation that pushes harmonic boundaries. An innovative voice for modern jazz guitar!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Gene Segal is an innovator, not content with the status quo there is an unbridled freedom to his lyrical movement. Mental Images is an approach that embraces complex rhythms and textured harmonics that would have some music theory teachers and students perched on the nearest ledge. The approach to these compositions draws inspiration from the great French organist and composer Olivier Messiaen. There is an unpredictable yet mathematically precise fashion that this collective approaches translating the compositions of Segal into an oddly accessible yet complex mosaic of sound.
The band includes alto saxophone star Jon Irabagon along with wind phenom Sam Sadigursky. The rhythm section is rounded off with bassist Sean Conly and Jaimeo Brown behind the kit. Opening with the contemporary syncopated funk of "Healing Feeling" there is a dramatic shift to the more organic exploratory of "Minds Eye." The quintet operates as one as opposed to the stereotypical guitarist and four after thoughts. All of the musical co-conspirators are given ample room for their own individual statements. The more introspective "The Bearded Lady" is an exquisette number that carries an ambient feel of movement. Mental Images is a cerebral work where Gene Segal has managed to transform what many would consider "jazz" into what is truly improvisational music.
Genre? Not here...At best one might refer to this as the harmonic happy place between hard bop and the more avant garde but that comparison means little unless you listen. There are hundreds of good guitarists in New York, Gene Segal has the potential to become great.
Tracks: Mental Images
Healing Feeling; Allegory Of The Cave; Minds Eye; Irrational Drive.
The Bearded Lady; Trapeze Act; The Ringmaster; Elephants.
Personnel: Gene Segal: Guitar; Jon Irabago: Alto Saxophone; Sam Sidgursky: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet; Sean Conly: Bass; Jaimeo Brown: Drums.