Oct 4 2013
Shades of Truth, the debut album of drummer Trevor Anderies is one of those recordings that symbolizes the hope that any jazz fan holds in their heart as they search through lists and shelves of unfamiliar names and unfamiliar album titles. A member of the genre-altering quartet Slumgum, Anderies and crew (all who perform on this recording) gained some impressive praise from many of the people who you want praising you when you’re an under-the-radar experimental ensemble… but not anything that is necessarily going to give an artist like Anderies name recognition for that time it’s his name in large print on an album cover. And this is why it’s important to give everything new a chance.
Your album personnel: Trevor Anderies (drums), Dwight Trible (vocals), Jon Armstrong (tenor sax), Gavin Templeton (alto sax), Brian Walsh (bass clarinet), Daniel Rosenboom (trumpet), Rory Cowal (piano), and David Tranchina (bass).
Hitting the sweet spot where Hard Bop and avant-garde meet, where some swing and groove goes so well with emergent ferocity and looser structure… a composite in which the album’s heartbeat comes through loud and clear, and the sight of a little blood never hurt anybody. And music like this, you don’t have to look hard to see its soul… it’s wide open music. This is music with the intensity of a storm, but keeps the listener close to its peaceful eye.
Opening track “Attainment” opens with a melody like a warm invitation. Bass clarinet and tenor and alto sax hold open the door, harmony like warm light pouring from within. Anderies takes a nifty drum solo at the heart of the song, and its fury does nothing to dispel the tune’s amicable nature.
Dwight Trible make his first appearance on the title-track “Shades of Truth.” The vocalist has provided some intriguing moments on his own recordings over the last decade, most notably on Living Water, though also in collaboration with various members who could fill a wing of the Jazz Hall of Fame. He’s been compared to both Leon Thomas and Andy Bey, and both references are fair… Trible has that deep, cavernous baritone that can be the steam to the saxophone fire of a Pharoah Sanders, and at other times his voice raises up a register and gets jumpy feet that barely touch the ground, and like Bey, threaten to groove away into thin air. On the spiritual jazz title-track “Shades of Truth,” Trible brings some soulfulness to the barely restrained power of the saxophone duo and Anderies ever-present force of nature.
A track like “Thunder” lets pianist Cowan raise up from under the rhythm’s canopy, and his rainy-day accompaniment to Trible’s comforting tones drive the tune to an increasingly sublime zenith.
About half of the tracks are instrumental, and there’s no change in appearance from those that do have vocals. “Vermillion” is one of the former, and toes that wonderful line between Hard Bop and avant-garde. Templeton’s alto sax is like a deer darting between the trees, then suddenly bursting through the brush.
The bass clarinet of Brian Walsh may very well be the highlight of this album, and definitely one of the best recorded bass clarinet performances in 2013. That he can bring an airy lightness to an instrument of such heavy feet gives the music an emotional depth that doesn’t become overburdened with unnecessary seriousness. “Three-Four vs Six-Eight Four-Four Ways” lets Walsh show a propensity for attaining fast speeds in the pursuit of irresistible tunefulness.
“Aren’t You So Lovely” features trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom escorting a love song from open sincerity to bemused sarcasm. A song that begins clean and tight becomes increasingly messy as it progresses, coming apart at the seams no matter how quickly Rosenboom stitches the melody’s pattern.
“Clear Eyes Of the Moon” sees Trible rejoining the cast, though its most notable feature is the compelling transference between Walsh’s bass clarinet and Tranchina’s bass. Their contributions are cloaked in shadows, making one indistinguishable from the other at times, but that behind the scenes interaction nearly eclipses Walsh’s lovely solo further into the tune.
The album ends with “Wild Ox Moan,” a song written by Vera Hall and recorded for the Library of Congress, and displays the poignant way that the blues can be simultaneously mournful and full of hope… a beautiful way to end a terrifically resonant album.
Released on the Nine Winds Records label.
Jazz from the Los Angeles scene.