Friday , November 24 2017
Home / Music / Reviews music / Album Reviews / Music Reviews: Bassist Jeff Dingler – ‘In Transit’ and Flutist Nestor Torres – ‘Jazz Flute Traditions’
nestor torres

Music Reviews: Bassist Jeff Dingler – ‘In Transit’ and Flutist Nestor Torres – ‘Jazz Flute Traditions’

The eight tracks on Jeff Dingler’s new jazz album In Transit are as fascinating as they are beautiful. In ways both abstract and concrete, the songs reflect the cross-cultural inspirations that fueled the New York-and-Ethiopia-based bassist-composer, who teaches music at Mekene Yesus University in Addis Ababa.

Dingler’s melodic, high-register bass solos adorn several of the more reflective tracks, while Brad Shepik’s transcendent guitar work gives the album much of its melodic grace. Backing them up are the sensitive and rhythmically assertive pianist Lou Rainone and atmospheric drummer Gusten Rudolph, with percussionist Josh Bailey contributing extra flair on some tracks.

Dingler roots his most interesting pieces in the Ethiopian pentatonic scale and other traditional elements, interlocking them with jazz with remarkable naturalness. He and the band dive into the 7/8 rhythm of “Sebat” with the same ease; it feels so organic it took me a minute to notice that we were in a non-standard time signature.

The band hews to classic jazz in the yearning “Tiptoe,” while extrapolations of that pentatonic scale bookend the album in “Bati Celebration” and “Way Home.” In all modes, Dingler the composer sticks to relatively simple chord progressions; the magic comes not from bebop complexity (though the musicians are clearly bebop adepts as well) but from the soft melding of musical traditions from two continents, adding up to one of the more subtly remarkable accomplishments in jazz this year.

nestor torresEven on a casual listen, Dingler’s In Transit is an enchanting journey. Another such trip is Jazz Flute Traditions, a charming new live set from flutist Nestor Torres. It’s presented as an homage to jazz flute masters such as Moe Koffman, Herbie Mann, and Yusef Lateef. But there’s no need to know those specific “traditions” to appreciate the joyful spirit in Torres’s playing and the easygoing virtuosity of the musicians who back him up on these 11 tracks recorded at WDNA 88.9 Studios in Miami, including guest alto saxophonist Ian Muñoz, who contributes a fluid solo on one of my own sentimental-favorite tunes, “Serenade to a Cuckoo.”

Whether in the incantatory plunge of “Jungle Fantasy,” the soft lyricism of Lateef’s “The Golden Flute,” the good-natured blues of “Swingin’ Shepherds Blues,” or the slow, muted flow of “So in Love,” each track features Torres’s painterly tones and techniques. An especially sensitive reading of Corea’s “Windows” is another of the album’s highlights. Always playing with heart, Torres is a jazz musician for the common man.

He and the combo do go further afield, though, with a medley of Luciano Berio’s experimental “Sequenza” with Eric Dolphy’s nervy “Gazzelloni,” and with an 11-minute suite that takes off from Xavier Cugat’s “Miami Beach Rhumba.” An integration of the Adagio from Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with Chick Corea’s “Spain” is especially effective.

Wide-ranging and consistently good-natured and entertaining, Jazz Flute Traditions is a feast for both heart and mind.&nbsp:

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.

Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.

Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he’s a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

Check Also

Music Review: Jethro Tull – ‘Stand Up: The Elevated Edition’

Much of Jethro Tull's second album still stands up, so to speak. The bright nasality of the hyperactive mandolin on "Fat Man," the blues-rock/progressive fusion of "Nothing is Easy," and the dark psychedelia of "We Used to Know" are all of their time, yet in the new mixes they leap urgently from the speakers. A 1969 Stockholm concert and a booklet packed with reminiscences and commentary help make this new edition something Tull fans will value.