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True to Wayne Shorter’s mantra, a spirit of curiosity permeates 'Quiet Spaces.' From beginning to end, the trio leaves no stone unturned. They question the tuneful themes of the opening “Tiny Kingdom” and the title track “Quiet Spaces,” reshaping them through wide emotional landscapes. On “Awake With A Start” they examine the moment of being startled and discover its multitude of hues in Leon’s playful solo. Indeed, the three seem to find inspiration in the most unexpected of places. This is most apparent in the two-part “$2.43 Regular Unleaded,” which takes the hocketing beeps from a car door and a gas pump on a dizzying, mechanistic joy ride.

Music Review: Sound Underground – ‘Quiet Spaces’

A touch of European influences and American jazz principles are fused together on Quiet Spaces from Sound Underground. Sprinkled with flamenco-style guitars and folksy-twinge horns, the recording merges the music of European cultures with bouts of improvised chord patterns, taking cues from the likes of such American jazz greats as Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter.

Quiet Spaces from Sound UndergroundEach track portrays an image in the listener’s mind, displaying a facet of life and dreams. The folksy texture of Jonah Udall’s guitar chords entwined with David Leon’s and Alec Aldred’s swirling horns through “Tiny Kingdoms” reams with optimism, putting the listener in a dreamy state of mind while the meandering guitar chords and punctuated saxophone toots along “$2.43 Regular Unleaded II. On the Road” conjure up thoughts of traveling through periods of highs and lows.  The melodic progressions move like human reflections, inspiring cerebral journeys and stimulating the listener’s thoughts.

The blues tone of the horns in “Me vs. Me” demonstrates the trio’s soulful impulses to play off one another, improvising phrases along the chord patterns that fluctuate between dizzying ramblings and soothing lulls.  The track is riddled with expressive movements as the three individual musicians communicate through their musical notes. Their dialog is personalized, making the listener a spectator in their freestyle banter.

The cruising guitar chords of “Awake with a Start” are braided in nimbly-woven horn twists making for a blissful sonorous as the deep echo of the horn’s timbres ruminate along “A Moment Fixed in Amber” projecting an eerie mood that dissipates at the close of the song.  The horns change course in “Wanderer’s Rondo” as the frolicking pace of the guitar strings cloak the frantic twisting of the horns in a folksy sheath.

Notes are stretched, curved, furled, and coiled through “Strange Distance” as the mournful tone of the saxophone shapes the whimsical silhouettes across “Now I Know.”  The contemplative atmospheres of the title track and “A Postcard” incite a few moments of introspection in the listener as the cool breezy feel of the horns and guitar strings wrap listeners in a warm island-like ambience.

Exhibiting an inclination to embark on musical expeditions that explore the unchartered areas of composition writing, Sound Underground shows they have a willingness to break through barriers constructed by the perimeters established by jazz standards.  Their improvisations are all their own, imaginings that are personalized by the trio.


Alec Aldred – trumpet and flugelhorn, David Leon – alto saxophone, and Jonah Udall – guitars


“Tiny Kingdoms,” “Quiet Spaces,” “Trio Tune for Tal,” “Horseback in Faded Grey,” “$2.43 Regular Unleaded I. At the Pump,” “$2.43 Regular Unleaded II. On the Road,” “Me vs. Me,” “Awake with a Start,” “A Moment Fixed in Amber,” “Wanderer’s Rondo,” “Strange Distance,” “Now I Know,” “A Postcard”

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.

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