Melvin Jones debut CD, Pivot, makes his creative imprint in jazz as a young new jazz lion. The ensemble features an internationally acclaimed group of musicians who share Mr. Jones eclectic sense of style and composition. All forward thinking and versed in varied genres of music, they share the innate ability to, "turn their focus in various directions without losing their original position." Mr. Jones said something very interesting about his music that speaks volumes about this CD, "...I strive to create art...My music attempts to weave these influences (jazz, samba, blues, hip hop and others) together to create unique and memorable sounds and compositions."
In many jazz conversations about the future of jazz there is a question often heard of how to keep the integrity of the roots of "straight ahead" jazz and infuse the ideas of different genres of music that represent younger generations. Melvin Jones offers an answer to that question with his CD, Pivot. Having worked with so many different musical talents such as Maysa, TLC, Avery Sunshine and played in ensembles such as Rio Negro, State of the Art (Sonny Emory) and the Illinois Jaquet Big Band then the question is answered as to what the music should sound like. Melvin Jones illustrates his perspective on the music as a pivot to signify his growth as an artist.
For this project, Mr. Jones enlists the talents of many seasoned and out standing young veterans to create a CD showcasing a variety of musical ideas. Whether keeping time to the incredible solos offered from both guest drummers, Lil John Roberts and Terreon Gully or feeling the texture of Brian Hogan's fender rhodes keyboard or the addition of Jeff Bradshaw's trombone to the horn section, this CD delivers something engaging for every listener. The band is essentially made up of Melvin Jones (trumpet), Mace Hibbard (alto & tenor saxophones), Louis Heriveaux (piano), Rodney Jordan (accoustic bass) and Leon Anderson (drums). On selected tracks the band features Michael Burton (alto & tenor saxophone), Jeff Bradshaw (trombone), Brian Hogans (piano & fender rhodes), Terreon Gully (drums) and Lil John Roberts (drums).
The opening track, "Jug or Knot" is a fast paced composition and at once the talents of Mr. Jones' and Mr. Hibbard's ability to cohesively meld their two instruments as one and blow down this fast changing piece is incredible. Mr. Gully on drums drives the pace effortlessly while he and Mr. Jordan's bass explore this Latin flavored swing. The gifted and talented saxophonist, Brian Hogans is featured on piano and lends his virtuosity articulating the changes, supporting the horns and rendering a beautiful solo on this orchestrated musical juggernaut.
This same ensemble is featured on, "Dizzyspell" with the addition of Michael Burton's sax. The bolstered horns rift over a wicked conversation between Mr. Gully's drums and Mr. Hogans' piano held together by the creative bass of Mr. Jordan. On "Chaos Groove" Mr. Jones leads us through many ideas at one time with forward thinking performances featuring Gully, Hogans and Jordan.
All but one song on this CD, was penned by either Melvin Jones or band mates Mace Hibbard and Louis Heriveaux. "Angels" was written by R. Smallwood and is a beautifully thoughtful ballad that features the piano of Mr. Heriveaux that leads to the spirited ending which showcases the balance of the primary band and their ability to translate jazz compositions into art. Mr. Jones' title track, Pivot is a wonderful, bossa nova inspired, original composition with a beautiful melody that will put a smile on your face. Again the balance of this band is exceptional and Mr. Jones and Mr. Hibbard shine brightly.
Lil John Roberts is featured on two tracks including, "Philly Time Zone" which again speak to the diversity of this project. Jeff Bradshaw is brought in on trombone and Brian Hogans plays the Fender Rhodes piano. This modern jazz piece showcases the rich horn section and drum stylings of Mr. Roberts. On "Funkytown Shuffle" we get to here the band swing and Mr. Jordan does his thing on bass on this cut. The horns illuminate this groove reminiscent of a time when people used to dance to jazz music.
This is a very well executed debut CD, with great performances from everyone involved. Mr. Jones can feel proud and we should all support this wonderfully crafted CD. For additional information on Melvin Jones, please visit www.melvinjones.net.