Recommended: Paul Jones – “Clean”


That this album is informed by the music of Steve Reich, Kendrick Lamar and Philip Glass isn’t sufficient backstory to prepare for this wonderful new recording from Paul Jones.  Primarily a work of modern jazz and chamber, those artist-specific influences bleed into the music of Clean 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.

And of that, there are many.  In addition to his own sextet, the saxophonist receives contributions from The Righteous Girls, the SNAP Saxophone Quartet and a chamber quartet.  The personnel deftly layer their own individual expressions upon the music while simultaneously channeling those undercurrents of modern classical, hip hop and pop.

Some musicians are storytellers.  Not in the vague sense of I’m trying to send a message with this music, but with a lyrical approach that hints strongly at introductions, conflict, denouement and a concluding wave goodbye.  The music creates the story and the story becomes the listener’s, transported into another time and place.  On his sophomore release, Paul Jones is world-building.  There’s the return to familiar locales with recurring melodies on “Ive Sn Th Gra Md“ and “It Was Brgh Cold“ and “Romulo’s Raga.”  There’s the spikes of intensity on “Centre in the Woods“ and title-track “Clean“ mirroring a dramatic plot twist.  And there’s the gentle comedowns on “Trio” and “Buckley Vs. Vidal“ like the sound of everything turning out okay in the end.

This is one of the best things to come out in 2017.

Your album personnel:  Paul Jones (tenor sax), Alex LoRe (alto sax), Matt Davis (guitar), Glenn Zaleski (piano), Johannes Felscher (bass), Jimmy Macbride (drums), Mark Dover (clarinet), Ellen Hindson (oboe), Nanci Belmont (bassoon), Susan Mandel (cello), The Righteous Girls of Gina Izzo (flute), Erika Dohi (piano), and The SNAP Saxophone Quartet of Nicholas Biello (soprano sax), Andrew Gould (alto sax), Sam Dillon (tenor sax), Jay Rattman (baritone sax).

Released on Outside In Music.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from NYC.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic