Jasen Weaver | The Voscoville

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: New Orleans Jazz Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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The Voscoville

by Jasen Weaver

New Orleans Modern Jazz
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Resilient
4:37 $0.99
2. Ordinance
6:09 $0.99
3. Upfront
4:45 $0.99
4. Curtains
4:47 $0.99
5. Alter Ego
4:43 $0.99
6. 341 North
6:20 $0.99
7. Uptown Touchdown
5:46 $0.99
8. Feature Steve
5:17 $0.99
9. Premonition
5:49 $0.99
10. Can't Get Me
5:23 $0.99
11. Chillin' in My Robe on New Year's Day
4:51 $0.99
12. The Voscoville
4:53 $0.99
13. Stompin' at the Savoy
4:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Liner Notes by Jason Marsalis

In the winter of 2008, I started teaching at my old alma mater arts high school, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. I was very fortunate to have a class of serious students who were interested in not only playing music but being a musician as their occupation in life. One of those students was bassist Jasen Weaver. After graduating high school, he attended the University of New Orleans and started to work around the city as a musician. I've had the good fortune to hire Weaver on my own shows while his passion for the music was growing. As time went on, Weaver started putting together his own shows and would hire me in return. It was very promising to see him cover music from various composers while developing his own music. It's that time Weaver spent as a bandleader that brings us to this album.

The music contained herein achieves two realities that are difficult today; a working band and the element of swing. The lack of a music community and working (gigging) conditions in today's world makes mentorship from older musicians and working with the same group of musicians every night a very difficult task. The fact that Weaver was able to have a consistent weekly gig and develop music based in the element of swing is against the odds of music today. The result is a band that believes in the music and has a desire to perform it at the highest level. It is those principals that make this album spirited and optimistic with very enjoyable results.

"The Resilient" is a fiery number in which the horn players play smart solos. Instead of trying to rapidly belt out a series of notes, velocity gives way to sustained tones and gives the rhythm section space for interaction. Check out the rhythm section interplay and key modulation behind Steve Lands' solo as a great example. The next song Weaver sets up is "Ordinance", a mellow mood to cool down the fire of the last tune. The melody with its surprising entrance, Lands quoting Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" and the standard "If I Should Lose You", and NOCCA alumnus Shea Pierre showing his virtuosity mixed with blues makes this tune a memorable one.

"Upfront", a tune reminiscent of jazz from the 1980's-90's, showcases the fun upbeat spirit of the band, which expands as a sextet, and its music. This marks the first time that we hear solos from both Weaver and saxophonist Miles Berry. While Weaver plays clear ideas with great intonation, Berry’s mature sound, which he had when he was a student at NOCCA, is evident throughout the record.

It's very hard to play a ballad in this age of fast paced technology. On "Curtains", the soloists take their time and match the mood of the tune with a delicate touch. "Feature Steve", which goes without saying, was written with Lands in mind and he paces his solo that matches the tune while Oscar Rossignoli plays a memorable one as well. Medium tempos is yet another challenge and one that Weaver takes on with the tune "341 North", dedicated to his college dormitory at the University of New Orleans. It describes a place in which anything can happen at anytime. Even though this tune uses a standard AABA form, the number of measures is anything but. With it's 11-11-8-11 bar form, it's challenge is really compounded when Lands and drummer A.J. Hall trade a mix of 4 and 3 bar phrases. It's unpredictable ending definitely depicts the reality of college. Of course, because life is fast paced doesn't mean that fast tempos are easy either. "Can't Get Me" proves this point as Rossignoli and Berry are given the challenge of stretching out over a 12 bar blues form. The melody is a modern take on blues with it's complex melody/rhythm interaction, different chords outside of the I-IV-I blues progression, and the 16-bar form differing from the 12-bar solo form.

Weaver also uses different types of grooves to showcase other rhythms that can be brought into jazz. "Alter Ego" with its use of Brazilian samba, "Uptown Touchdown" with its mix of swing, drum 'n bass, and 1970’s jazz-fusion energy, and "Chillin' In My Robe on New Year's Day” could easily be an R&B ballad of yesterday and today. "The Voscoville" takes us to the modern second-line parades of New Orleans with the brass bands and the people dancing behind them, i.e. the second line.

To close the album, Weaver chose a classic standard that was popular before the musicians on the album were even born. While there’s a debate about the relevance of jazz standards, Weaver’s arrangement of ”Savoy" shows how one can take an early 20th Century tune and update it into the 21st Century. While changing the groove, harmony, and tempo, the band's personality still comes through on this 80 plus year old tune while sounding like 2017. There's also a nice use of a quote from a solo taken by pianist Ahmad Jamal on his 1958 recording of "Savoy".

In closing, this is a very spirited album that doesn't take itself too seriously while presenting an enjoyable experience for the listener. This is something that today's music needs more of.

-Jason Marsalis



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