Jason Robinson, The Two Faces of Janus
(Cuneiform Records Rune 311, CD review by Chris Parker)
“An emotional intensity that keeps things at boiling point” is Jazz Now Magazine’s description of saxophonist/composer Jason Robinson’s most striking artistic trait, and he showcases said intensity, which ranges from relentlessly, slow-building to downright roiling, throughout this utterly compelling album.
Deploying a stellar line-up, comprising reedsman supreme Marty Ehrlich and vibrant altoist Rudresh Mahanthappa alongside core group members Liberty Ellman (guitar), Drew Gress (bass) and drummer George Schuller, with all the rowdy, tumultuous vigour and snap customarily associated with New York bands tempered by scrupulous attention to the various twists, turns and musical wrinkles of his multi-hued compositions, Robinson has produced a rousing, rumbustious but consistently musicianly album.
His own richly textured, passionate playing (on tenor, soprano and flute) jostles and interweaves with Ehrlich’s and Mahanthappa’s to great effect, and with UK-born Ellman ear-catchingly original in both soloing and accompanying roles and the rhythm section exemplary in its surefooted anchoring of the music in the often complex time-signatures demanded by Robinson, the Two Faces of Janus is one of the most powerful and robust albums you’re likely to hear this year.