Reviews from Downbeat and Jazz Times magazines of the Brian Lynch/Emmet Cohen recording “Questioned Answer”
Those of you who have visited this site lately (actually, for more than a little while) may have been justly disappointed by the lack of updates and new content. Believe me, I’m disappointed, too! It’s been daunting to try to keep up with updating this site at the same time as dealing with Facebook and all the other social media that seems to be of paramount importance now.
I’m hoping to address this problem very soon with a complete makeover and resent of brianlynchjazz.com. This will follow the relaunch of my label site, hollisticmusicworks.com which should happen within the next month.
So please be patient – I hope to have a new brianlynchjazz.com launched by the end of the year.
For those who are interested, here’s the clinic outline and accompanying material for the clinic my Frost Afro-Caribbean Artist Ensemble and I gave on Saturday, Jan. 11th at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas. Enjoy! – Brian
Thanks for taking an interest in our music. The program for tonight’s performance is centered around the music from a soon to be released recording project in which my young colleague Emmet Cohen, our pianist tonight, and myself are the principal collaborators, that is to say, co-leaders. Our most esteemed, nay legendary, drummer tonight, Jabali Billy Hart, is also a part of this recording project, along with the bassist Boris Kozlov, for which another tremendously talented and estimable gentleman, Peter Washington, is taking the place of on tonight’s bandstand. We will be playing selections from the quartet portions of the recording, as well as a couple of duo renditions of material from the standard and jazz classic songbook. These duos by Emmet and myself are also a component of our upcoming recording project. We’ll complete our set list for this hit with a selection of my other originals, both of recent vintage and from a little further back, that I thought would be appropriate alongside the other tunes.
We hope that our program will be enjoyable for you and sustain your interest throughout, despite its having no overt theme other being a foretaste of our recording, or paying tribute to any one jazz icon as a means to bask in their reflected glory. I would like to think that tonight we pay tribute to all of our forebears by seeking to present original music, as they did.
In the absence of immediately recognizable, pre tested and thoroughly digested tunes, perhaps it would be of help to the interested audient to have a few lines about each of the original selections for tonight.
First, let’s have Emmet Cohen introduce his songs:
Dark Passenger– Inspired by the story line of the hit Showtime series “Dexter”, “Dark Passenger is the journey of the uncontrollable secret human urge to do the forbidden. This enigmatic feeling is carried throughout and even with effort, cannot be subsided. The mysterious textures and the freedom of the piece allow it to take on a new shape depending on the moods and states of the performers and the audience.
Distant Hallow– This haunting melody captures the unexpected encounter of a far away, vacated land. Oddly, it is more intriguing than it is dangerous. The more it is explored, the more it begs to be dug deeper into, revealing… Well, I’ll let you figure it out!
Petty Theft– Written from the perspective of the thief, this composition starts from a state of peace and contemplation and winds through the thread of thought in the human brain that leads to unethical action. It is not out of need, malice nor thirst for violence, but just for the sake of defying rules as we know them. It is up to you to decide if the thief is caught!
Turning to my tunes, first the new ones from the upcoming side:
Cambios means, or intends to mean, “changes” in Spanish. Changes as in chords, this is a very “harmonic” piece, where a lot of the thrill is in how the melodic soloists deal with the track. The 24 measure chorus is a second cousin to the blues. Even with all the changes, it’s possible to say something on it since the overall line has that rising feeling.
Buddy is named for one of my mentors, pianist and vibist Buddy Montgomery (Wes’s brother). It’s a little reminiscent of his sophisticated Latin/funk tunes. The way the minor chords work through the outside sections can be interesting to the improvisor; you can either run the unorthodox movements or play soulfully (maybe even both?). You can get a groove happening on this one.
Questioned Answer (excuses to Charles Ives) mines related ground to Buddy harmonically, with the planar movement of minor 7th chords in both directions circle wise. But there’s a rising motion in this one too. The release gets some tension happening between the cross rhythm and the snaky octatonic melodic variations.
Unsung Blues was written for my “Unsung Heroes” project of a couple of years back. It’s a 3/4, rolling kind of number. The rising major chords in the third phrase are rewarding to play off of. It’s easy to achieve a modal, bashing energy in this song.
RoditiSamba was also recorded on “Unsung Heroes” as a dedication to mentor and trumpet great Claudio Roditi. The tune itself is an updating of an earlier composition, “C.K.’s Bossa”, dating back to my school days and recorded on my “Back Room Blues” CD in 1989.
Woody Shaw, written at the turn of the millennium and recorded on my “Tribute To The Trumpet Masters” CD of 2001, is a tune everyone loves to play (if I do say so myself). It’s dedicated to the trumpet Titan that it’s named after, and also now to his one time pianist, the late Mulgrew Miller, who played on the recording.
Tribute To Blue, also originally recorded on “Tribute To The Trumpet Masters”, dates back the farthest of any of the original compositions offered this evening. Written in 1985, it waited around a while to get noticed. Phil Woods has also recorded this song. By the way,”Blue” refers to the great trumpeter Blue Mitchell.
Program to be selected from:
Cambios (2012) – Brian Lynch
Questioned Answer (2012) – Brian Lynch
Buddy (2012) – Brian Lynch
Petty Theft (2011) – Emmet Cohen
Dark Passenger (2011) – Emmet Cohen
Distant Hallow (2011) – Emmet Cohen
Unsung Blues (2009) – Brian Lynch
RoditiSamba (2008) – Brian Lynch
Woody Shaw (2001) – Brian Lynch
Tribute To Blue (1985) Brian Lynch
The Cup Bearers (Tom McIntosh)
Asiatic Raes (Kenny Dorham)
I Wish I Knew
How Deep Is The Ocean
Just In Time
It Might As Well Be Spring
I just received word from my friend and colleague, drummer Ralph Peterson, that the great pianist and fellow Jazz Messenger Mulgrew Miller has passed away this morning, after suffering a massive stroke last week.
This is a heavy blow to all of us. Mulgrew wasn’t only the greatest jazz pianist of his generation (my generation as well), but a great human being, one of the best folks ever to come down the pike in this business. We played and recorded together, but I’ve always wished for more contact with this giant, now not to be. Mulgrew, you will always live in my heart and I will let the children know about your towering contribution to this music!
I was honored to have Mulgrew play on one of my recordings, 2000’s Tribute To The Trumpet Masters on the Sharp Nine label. Here’s my composition “Woody Shaw” from that side. Dig how hip Mulgrew’s shadowing of the melody is on the head in, his supportive (both rhythmically challenging and centering) comping behind the trumpet – and his truly killing solo.
I’d like to offer my truly heartfelt condolences to Mulgrew’s family, friends, and to the music itself, which has suffered an irreplaceable loss.