Best of 2016 #11: Dan Weiss – “Sixteen: Drummers Suite” (Pi Recordings)


Using rhythmic phrases of legendary jazz drummers as conversation starters, Dan Weiss launches off into an innovative jazz orchestration project that echoes the experimental works of Archie Shepp’s 1970s spiritual jazz-protest music hybrid and the spiritual jazz work of Alice Coltrane, where the use of electronics and non-traditional jazz instrumentation fit like a glove.  Nothing about Sixteen: Drummers Suite sounds normal.  The electronic blips trading jabs with piano and percussion, the wind instruments that apply a strange geometry to the shape of the melodies, the dreamlike chorus of voices that shift between serenity and nightmare, and the tempos that often possess the same ephemeral nature.  Yet even with all of those odd characteristics, Weiss maintains a flow throughout, a forward momentum that streamlines the unconventional qualities and, much the same way passing scenery begins to bleed imagery the higher the rate of speed, so, too, does Weiss play with the senses.  A work this wildly experimental that is also friendly and approachable, that’s something pretty damn special.

Jazz from Brooklyn, NY.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).