Two stunningly gifted jazz artists – both of whom happen to be named Jason – lay the smack-down on the genre, playing originals and covers from The Beatles to Miles…
Jason Anick and Jason Yeager
Inner Circle Music
10 tracks 54:49
These two stunningly gifted jazz artists – both of whom happen to be named Jason – do a tag-team and lay the smack-down on the genre, mingling their original compositions with a pair of tracks written by the late jazz violin legend Zbigniew Seifert, a bona-fide Beatles cover, and a Miles Davis song to cap it all off. Yes, they cover a lot of ground – and do it well.
Staring off with Jason Yeager’s Israeli-flavored “Achi,” the clean, simple melody is stated by Yeager’s piano and Anick’s violin, accompanied by Greg Loughman’s bass and Mike Conners’ brushes. The sound is cool and delightfully playful, with Anick’s pizzicato dancing with Yeager’s piano right from the start, eventually exploding into a passionate crescendo at about four minutes in. Yeager’s musical travelogue also takes us to a “Harlem Hoedown,” with a very percussive opening and some great round-robin soloing, and then to some Argentinian sounds with “La Segunda.” The pianist’s romantic side is in full view with “Sweet Pea,” a gentle and sweet melodic piece tempered by some cool but passionate soloing by both Jasons.
Anick’s “Bird’s Eye View” features some jazzy riffs and a fast tempo, urging on great solos, including Clay Lyons on sax, and a nice building motif a little more than half-way through the song. Interesting timing and a more complex structure makes Anick’s second composition of the project, “Well Red,” a great track to dive into, with an intriguing piano solo and our first taste of the composer’s impressive mandolin playing.
The two Seifert pieces are a study in extremes, with the low-key “Stillness,” a piano/violin duet that’s as tranquil and magical as you might imagine it to be, while “Turbulent Plover” is turbulent indeed – but a good kind of turbulent. The song is the closest that the Anick/Yeager combo get to Jazz-rock fusion, with all of the energy, swing, and dazzle of some of the Zappa/ Duke/ Ponty collaborations – but with more of a classic jazz inclination. Tasty indeed.
The Jasons do an affectionate take on George Harrison’s “Something,” turning bass licks into motifs, incorporating tempo changes, but keeping the melody intact. The familiar introduction leads into the melody stated by Anick on mandolin (sounding throughout the song like some mighty tasty jazz guitar). The faster-tempoed piano solo swings wonderfully, and gives way to the return of some revved-up mandolin riffing before slowing down to original tempo and a smooth return landing on that opening phrase to end the song.
Anick and Yeager end with a piano/violin duet on Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” The two instrumentalists play in counter point to each other, across, over, and in tandem, as they wring every ounce of jazzy blues out of the spare composition. Their musical symbiosis, apparent throughout the album, is all the more obvious on this song. The two seem to become lead, rhythm, bass, percussion, and (of course) soloists at will. They create enough musical textures for a whole jazz combo all on their own. And that’s why, I suppose, they call the album, United.
- Bert Saraco
- You can find pictures of Jason Anick and Jason Yeager – and many others – on my concert photography page: