Review: Michael Janisch - Purpose Built
|Date of Release:||2010|
|Cat. No.:||WR 4613|
|Country of Release:||UK, US|
|Date of Review:||2011/11/16|
Released on the Whirlwind Recordings label in 2010, Michael Janisch's Purpose Built is the ace bassist's debut leader album.
American born Janisch has been a valued addition to the British jazz scene since making his home here a number of years ago. A bass player in the mould of Jeff Berlin, in that he frequently plays his basses as if they were guitars, Janisch is also a fierce, inventive, highly rhythmic/percussive improviser of remarkable ability and power who also often reminds of Charles Mingus.
For his debut Purpose Built, Janisch has assembled a remarkable team of nine young stellar US and British players, with whom he plays in various combinations from duo to sextet, although trios and quartets predominate. The New York musicians are, in alphabetical order, Jonathan Blake, drums; Patrick Cornelius, alto sax; Aaron Goldberg, piano; Mike Moreno, guitar; Jason Palmer, trumpet; Walter Smith III, tenor sax; while the UK contingent is made up of Paul Booth, tenor sax; Jim Hart, vibes; and guitar ace Phil Robson. The album was then recorded at Brooklyn, New York's System Two studio, with an exceptional recording quality as well as sterling production.
For Purpose Built, Janisch wrote eight originals and arranged four standards. The originals are highly imaginative and original, strong compositions that compare well with the standards, which Janisch breathed interesting new life into with his arrangements.
This album immediately captivates with its tremendous energy, all round virtuosity, imaginativeness, originality, and yes, even huge charm. As inventive, energetic and virtuosic as ever, Michael Janisch never seeks to dominate and always gives his co-conspirators generous room to shine as well. The ensemble playing, in its various combinations, is exquisite, and the soloing all round borders on the spectacular. The inclusion of Jim Hart's vibes on four of the tracks works particularly well also, without wishing to take anything away from any of the other superb players.
Despite the varying combinations of musicians, Purpose Built is utterly consistent throughout, it is wonderfully cohesive as well as coherent. Moreover, this album is completely compelling, more, it is totally addictive, hitting the listener instantly with immense energy and a charm that just can't be shaken off. Purpose Built is good, solid jazz, and never lacking in invention or imagination, with good, solid improvs. It is new, and yet it is thoroughly in the tradition. Exciting stuff!
Over a year after its release, Michael Janisch's Purpose Built is still as fresh and refreshing as the day it left the factory. It's a must have that should be in any good jazz collection. Beg, steal, or borrow, but preferably buy!
1. Precisely Now - 6:48
Michael Janisch - acoustic & electric bass
Aaron Goldberg - piano (3, 9, 10)
Jim Hart - vibraphone (1, 4, 6, 11)
Jason Palmer - trumpet (2, 7, 8, 11)
Paul Booth - tenor sax (1, 2, 6)
Mike Moreno - guitar (2, 7, 8)
Patrick Cornelius - alto sax (5, 11)
Phil Robson - guitar (5, 9)
Walter Smith III - tenor sax (1, 4, 8, 11)
Johnathan Blake - drums
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