Best of 2017 #11: Paul Jones – “Clean” (Outside In Music)


Though primarily a work of modern jazz and chamber, Clean is informed by the music of Steve Reich, Kendrick Lamar and Philip Glass… influences that bleed into the music with a remarkable subtlety.  Their effect is revealed in harmonic roll-outs, pulsing rhythms, a narrative-like melodic development, and moments of stunning minimalism at the eye of a storm… an undercurrent of influence like an untold strategy guiding the hand of active participants.  It’s an effect not unlike that of an author mapping out a storyline, which is an apt metaphor in light of the structure Paul Jones provides his excellent 2017 recording.  Full of recurring themes, dramatic plot twists, and inter-character tensions, there’s an abiding sense of novella in sonic form.  There are countless jaw-dropping moments of beauty on this album, and at times, it seems like it could go on forever… and then it’s suddenly over, far too soon.  This recording fell just outside the official Top Ten, but there’s every argument to be made that not only did it deserve to be included, but that it earned a slot in the top half.  Just a wonderful album.

Music from NYC.

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