recorded September 25, 2019 at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY
Posi-Tone Records rolls out a second volume of “New Faces” with a musical message that stays focused on “New Sounds.” This group of “New Faces” (trumpeter Brandon Lee, alto saxophonist Markus Howell, tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, pianist Caili O’Doherty, bassist Adi Meyerson and drummer Cory Cox) was assembled and sent off under the supervision of producer Marc Free to explore a wonderland of melodic mysteries and harmonic possibilities. The performances of these emerging artists are specifically intended to provide you with an insight into the musical aesthetics and operational ethos of Posi-Tone Records with an engaging program of fresh cuts and a few dusky gems from the label’s previous releases. Please take a moment to relax and experience the “New Sounds” of these talented artists as they work to provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a more delightful today and a brighter tomorrow.
It’s refreshing to see younger artists gaining recognition in jazz circles. The energy and performances of such players often adds a sense of vitality to the music, and Posi-Tone Records has been at the forefront of bringing many of these emerging artists to the mainstream. In 2017, for example, Marc Free, the owner and producer of Posi-Tone, assembled a group of young musicians to showcase on the album New Faces: Straight Forward. This turned out to be a successful venture, and Free revisits this concept by bringing a new batch of young musicians on New Faces: New Sounds.
New Sounds features a lineup of up-and-coming jazz talent. Many of these musicians have appeared on earlier Posi-Tone releases, and this album gives them each an opportunity to take their turn in the spotlight. Although these are younger musicians, they have the talent and experience of seasoned veterans. There is also a sense of passion and creativity that permeates the record.
The musicians featured here include Brandon Lee on trumpet, Markus Howell on alto sax, Nicole Glover playing tenor sax, and pianist Caili O’Doherty. The exceptional rhythm section includes Adi Meyerson on bass, and drummer Cory Cox. The players work together seamlessly. This is obvious right from the opening track, Brandon Lee’s “Shades of Brown.” In the press release, Free describes the chemistry among the players in the group. “It’s not just one person’s voice; it’s everybody’s voice.”
New Faces presents the members’ talents not only as performers but as composers as well. The majority of the selections in this album are originals, and the selections present a selection of different jazz styles. Adi Meyerson’s “Afloat” is melodic waltz with a slight sense of tension in the rhythm that almost recreates the feeling of floating on water. The Cory Cox composition, “Luna Lovejoy” dishes up some tasty Brazilian jazz flavors. Howell’s flute blended with Lee’s trumpet is an ideal pairing for this particular setting. Howell’s “Second Wind” also features some Latin elements along with some outstanding improvisation.
New Faces also includes a beautiful ballad, “Hold My Heart,” another Meyerson composition. Caili O’Doherty’s piano on this song along with Meyerson’s bass provides an ideal foundation for the melodic wind instruments. O’Doherty’s “Runaway” is another emotionally moving piece. The song begins with a somewhat introspective solo piano section that transitions into a powerful group performance. Free describes this composition as a “sensitive and vulnerable portrayal of people trying to hear their way and not think their way through difficult times.”
Nicole Glover’s “Blues for Tangier” is one of the album’s most adventurous tracks. This playful track blends some Moroccan motifs with a healthy dose of Thelonious Monk inspired blues. “Whistleblower” offers something of a hard bop tune that allows for the players to stretch out and explore some modal territory. While this improvisational aspect is present throughout the album, the closing track, “Trapezoid,” offers a strong conclusion, complete with several outstanding solos.
One of Free’s goals with this project is to bring some “beauty and blissful joy to listeners.” During the challenging times much of the world has faced recently, a little joy would be a pretty cool thing.