Improvisational triple threat Jerry Kalaf kicks off 2015 with a stunning new release, Welcome To Earth.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Jerry Kalaf is indeed a legitimate triple threat working as a respected educator, composer/arranger and drummer. Kalaf's music has been heard on hundreds of recordings and soundtracks. Welcome To Earth features some of the best players on the left coast and they take eight Kalaf originals to the next level of expression. Deceptively subtle nuanced textures with an undeniable lyrical sense of purpose and presented in three separate ensembles which include a sextet and two trios. There is an odd if not simple conceptual nature to this incredible work, melody comes out of the jazz witness protection program and develops a unique rhythmic pulse. Shifting meter and dynamics are never over the top, there is a meticulous effort to allow the music to guide the musicians. Rare.
Highly emotive the opening track "Ambiguity" has an open spatial quality and ambient feel but never pushes the listener off the edge of that ambiguous harmonic cliff. "See You Next Year" along with "Welcome To Earth" seem to take a rather interesting Bill Evans type path yet the lyrical drumming of Kalaf adds colors you can feel and a swing that while in the pocket still allows each participant their opportunity to make their own statements.
This is improvisational sophistication that while complex and evolving allows the listener that rare opportunity for both a visceral and cerebral experience.
Virtually the perfect release.
Tracks: Ambiguity; The Jazz Answer; Welcome To Earth; See You Next Year; Siyaya Samba; Not Knowing; This One's For Jim; Moving On.