Jon Gordon – Answer
(ArtistShare: AS0174. CD review by Nick Davies)
Jon Gordon is a saxophone player who spends his time travelling between New York City and Winnipeg. Greatly in demand, he has played with celebrated artists the likes of Benny Carter, Maria Schneider and Bob Mintzer.
Answer is Jon’s sixth release and features him on saxophone, Bryn Roberts on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass and Quincy Davis on drums. Jon states that one of the tougher things to do, as a jazz musician, is to put a steady band together and he feels, with the current line-up, he has achieved that goal.
Only recently released, this album seamlessly combines newer pieces with reworked older ones that have been brought up to date. Initial thoughts were that, although well played with an exceptionally tight band, the music lacked the spark that is prevalent is some of today’s jazz. A second listen did not alter this view although, that said, Jon does not deviate from his style which makes this a jazz album in the more traditional sense: it’s the band and Jon, no electronics, no mc or singing, just pure listenable jazz instrumentals.
Track 1, One for Liam (named after of one of Gordon’s sons), starts with Roberts’ piano, followed by Gordon on sax. It is a slow and mellow start, much like many songs on this album, with the rest of the band then joining in. The music is played to a high standard which you would expect from such a tightly knit band. This opening track sets the tone, with the following ones following a similar format. Lovers of this style of music will find it to be a breath of fresh air however it could be disappointing to listeners who are either just dipping their toes into jazz or those who are keen on a more modern delivery of the genre.
There are no real fast-paced tracks or surprises leading you in a different direction. Despite having no particular theme running through the album, it certainly delivers a series of well-played new and masterfully enhanced older tracks, showcasing Gordon’s talents.
There are no tricks or technological wizardry, simply music produced by a very good band, reminiscent of some albums produced by Coltrane or Hawkins.