Jon Crowley – “At the Edge”

 

Jon Crowley - "At the Edge"One of the nicer albums to get released in 2011 was by trumpet player Jon CrowleyAt the Edge is most remarkable for its melodic comportment… these are songs that swim in the melodies.  But what makes the album click is that it doesn’t treat the rhythm section as merely an afterthought.  Crowley binds the melodic and rhythmic sections together not through their commonalities but, instead, through the strength of their contrasting qualities.

The duo of Ziv Ravitz and Julian Smith on drums and bass maintain an agitated presence throughout the recording, stirring waters from which the bright notes of Julian Pollack’s Fender Rhodes can bob along the surface.  And it’s with that rhythmic foundation that Crowley and Jeremy Udden can launch off into one lovely melody after the next.

Your album personnel: Jon Crowley (trumpet, Fender Rhodes one track), Jeremy Udden (alto sax), Julian Pollack (piano, Fender Rhodes), Julian Smith (bass), and Ziv Ravitz (drums).

There’s a patience to the cadence with which melodies are expressed… unhurried as if they have all the time in the world, and play each note like its their last.  Crowley’s trumpet often soars, though he switches up the altitudes at which this happens.  “Find Me” has him skimming just over the surface of the rhythm, whereas title-track “At the Edge” sees him lifting off to greater and greater heights.

Most tracks take a linear path from first note to last.  The shifting “Sadness Suffering Hope Triumph” is a series of solos set to emotional changes altered through tone and tempo.  “These Four Walls” have Crowley and Pollack almost within reach of one another on trumpet and piano, as they follow complementary parallel melodic lines… a lesson in the partnership of light and dark in a game of shadow play.

“Shine” is the one track on the album that accentuates the angles more than the curvature of melodic lines, but even here there are times of beautiful melodic sighs.  “Progress” takes it to the other extreme, with melodies that circle back onto themselves in hypnotic pattern that occasionally breaks free from its flight pattern for lovely harmonic expressions.

Half of the album tracks are no longer than two minutes long, affording Crowley the opportunity to add further melodic texture to an album already strong with it.  “And then one day it’s all over…” is melancholic trumpet set against the murmur of bass… an interlude that can stand on its own in terms of creative statements, but also provides a sufficient lead-in to subsequent track “At the Edge,” which also has a somber side to its personality, though expressed with an abounding warmth that overcomes its darker side.

It’s a warmth that attaches to each of these songs, in each expression of melody.  It’s a big reason why this is such a winning album.

This album is Self-Published.

Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon CD | Amazon MP3