Former Brad Melhdau drummer Jorge Rossy is scheduled to release his debut album as a band leader Friday. Puerta is scheduled for release through ECM Records. The 10-song record is a positive first outing for Rossy as a band leader and for his fellow musicians, Robert Landfermann and Jeff Ballard. One of the most notable of the album’s entries that best exhibits the record’s success is the late entry, ‘S.T.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘Maybe Tuesday,’ one of the record’s early entries, is another way in which the record’s strength is shown. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Adios,’ the record’s closer, is yet another notable addition to the album’s body and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. When it is considered with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Puerta a solid first outing for Rossy as a band leader.
Jorge Rossy’s debut album as a band leader, Puerta, is an aptly titled new release from the former drummer of the Brad Melhdau trio. Its success is shown throughout its 54-minute body through each of its subtle but still so rich arrangements. One of the most notable of the album’s many enjoyable entries comes late in its run in the form of the simply titled ‘S.T.’ Clocking in at just under six minutes (five minutes, 55 seconds to be exact), the arrangement stands out because of its straight forward time signature and performances. This arrangement is clearly a 4/4 composition. Rossy’s subtle performance on the marimba pairs with Ballard’s steady time keeping to keep the simple presentation moving fluidly. The even more subtle addition of Landfermann’s performance on bass puts the finishing touch to the whole. The whole is so gentle. It comes across like something that one might expect for the soundtrack of a high class party in perhaps the 1960s; people sitting around on nice furniture, drinking martinis and champagne as the song plays behind them; the subtle tones of the room’s paint job. It is just such a wonderfully engaging composition even in its simplicity. Yes, the whole is subtle in its approach, but even being the case, it is not so much so that it is uncomfortable in that subtlety. Simply put, this song is a clear example of what makes Puerta such a surprisingly enjoyable first outing for Rossy as a band leader. It is just one of the songs that serves to show the album’s strength. ‘Maybe Tuesday,’ which comes a little earlier in the album’s run, is another good example of what this record has to offer audiences.
‘Maybe Tuesday’ is definitely more than a maybe within the album’s overall body. The song stands out because its arrangement is just as unlike ‘S.T.’ as both songs are from the rest of the record’s offerings. The arrangement runs just over eight minutes in length (eight minutes, one second to be exact). Rossy trades in the marimba in this swinging, upbeat composition for a vibraphone. The soft, moving performance that Rossy puts forth here immediately lends itself to comparison to works from Lionel Hampton. Given, his work here does boast Hampton’s influence, but still also presents its own unique identity separate from Hampton’s expansive body of work. The blend of the accented notes, the near ghost notes, and the simple rhythms makes his performance alone stand out so strongly. Meanwhile, Ballard keeps time solidly on the ride while adding just the right amount of kick through his subtle fills. Landfermann’s subtle walking bass line in this composition puts the finishing touch to the work, bringing everything together. He and Ballard work so well together in this composition. That is especially displayed roughly halfway through the song as Rossy steps back and lets his fellow musicians take the spotlight. Their combined talents make this composition so fun to hear. All things considered here, this moving, upbeat piece is a wonderful modern jazz composition that has a great almost big band feel. It is yet another clear example of what makes this record so engaging and entertaining and certainly not the last, either. ‘Adios,’ which closes the record, is yet another example of how much the record has to offer.
‘Adios’ stands out as it gives audiences something different yet again. In the case of this arrangement, it offers the slightest Latin-tinged approach and sound. It is there, but so subtle, which is a nice change of pace from so many similar songs that are just so overtly the case. Its uniqueness is thanks to the work of all three musicians. The rhythmic patterns that Rossy uses on the marimba work with Ballard’s work on the drums to really establish that sense. Ballard keeps time steadily on the hi-hat while also adding jus the right flare with the occasional subtle cymbal crash and staccato eighth notes on the toms. The noted cymbal “crashes” sound more like rivets used on what is known as a “sizzle cymbal.” The subtle sizzling sound that they provide gives such a nice touch to the song here. Landfermann’s bass line puts the finishing touch to the whole and brings the work together through its own subtle semi-Latin style approach. The result of each musician’s performance is a song that is a fitting finale to the album and an equally strong example of what makes the album so worth hearing. When this song and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album becomes a surprisingly enjoyable new offering for any jazz aficionado and an equally enjoyable first outing for Rossy as a band leader.
Jorge Rossy’s debut album as a band leader, Puerta, is an impressive offering from the one-time Brad Melhdau Trio drummer. That is proven from beginning to end of the 10-song record. The arrangements are diverse an unique from one another throughout the record’s nearly hour-long body. The songs examined here make the clear. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole becomes that much more enjoyable. The only real negative that can be said of the record is that it lacks any liner notes explaining the inspiration behind each song. That does, unquestionably detract from the overall listening experience. That is because it only gives audiences a surface-level appreciation for the songs. Hopefully Rossy will take that into account when he releases his next album. Keeping all of this in mind, the album is still a nice addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums that is well worth hearing at least once.
Puerta is scheduled for release Friday through ECM Records. More information on this and other titles from ECM Records is available at:
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