I am fond of saying in the day of the digital download and pre-ordering of new releases the old fashioned street date has lost some of its meaning. Michael Feinberg’s The Elvin Jones Project has an official street date of 09/11/12 but this young bassist is a phenom whose musical stock seems to be that proverbial arrow pointing straight up.
The great John Pattitucci was quoted, ” Michael Feinberg is a very talented young bassist. He is a bassist to keep an eye on. He has the flexibility, energy, love of music and intensity to make a difference NOW!!!”
Good enough for me. Plus it would appear Feinberg appears to enjoy taking his work home with him. The John Coltrane Quartet of the 1960’s continues to inspire to this very day. The young Feinberg (twenty five) was particularly inspired by Coltrane’s rhythm section namely drummer Elvin Jones. While one can argue a plethora of drummers as “best of all time” there is little argument that coming out of the jazz genre that the late Elvin Jones may have had as much or in some cases more influence over modern drummers working in any genre today.
While Feinberg has been working the New York scene for only a short period of time his name as a composer, bandleader and accompanist is continuing to turn heads with a resume that includes having played with such luminaries as John Scofield, Jean-Michel Pilc and Lee Ritenour. The collaboration with Ritenour is for an upcoming release on the Concord label featuring bass standouts John Pattitucci and Christian McBride.
The Elvin Jones Project is Feinberg’s third release as a leader. The ensemble features the great Billy Hart on drums, saxophonist George Garzone, trumpet wizard Tim Hagans and Leo Genovese who is also a member of Esperanza Spalding’s band. The blistering take on “Miles Mode” featuring a vibrant solo from Garzone sets the table for a release that is old school made new cool thanks to some of the arrangements from Feinberg. Jumping from the Coltrane tune “Miles Mode” to a tune often associated with Coltrane we have a stellar riff on “Nancy With The Laughing Face” featuring a gorgeous bowed bass from Feinberg. “Taurus People” kicks off with a bass-drums duet proving without a doubt Hart was indeed the man for the job on drums. Perhaps most impressive is the Feinberg original composition “It Is Written” a smoldering tune that lays in nicely with the rest of these timeless classics and in some cases forgotten memories.
The original intent was for Feinberg to explore some of his favorite bassists that played with Coltrane during the peak of his creativity but instead he discovered a deep appreciation for the music and lasting legacy of the late drummer Elvin Jones. An absolute wonderful showcase of talent on display with the release. From a lyrical walking bass line with a sense of urgency to the all to infrequent bowed bass that is pure magic in the right hands we find a new shooter on the bass scene.
Michael Feinberg. 5 Stars.
Tracks: Earth Jones; Miles Mode; Taurus People; It Is Written; The Unknighted Nations; Nancy With The Laughing Face; Three Card Molly.