Jason Jenkins | Urban Vernacular

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Hard Bop Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Urban Vernacular

by Jason Jenkins

Original modern jazz with elegance and attitude.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Acceptance
8:34 $0.99
2. Urban Vernacular
9:33 $0.99
3. Can't Win For the Shape I'm In
10:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
There was a time when it seemed as if nearly all of
the world class jazz performances took place in the
larger cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles,
San Francisco and New Orleans. Musicians who played in
smaller towns were thought of as minor leaguers who,
if they ended up being talented, would eventually
migrate to the bigger cities.

That is no longer the case, for nearly every
geographical area has its major talents. While one
would not think of Richmond, Virginia as being a
hotbed of jazz, it is the home base for bassist Jason
Jenkins, saxophonist Kevin Simpson, pianist
Anthony Dowd and drummer Billy Williams, each of
whom could compete well in any other city. In addition
to appearing in clubs and at festivals, Jenkins has recorded
for soundtracks and studio work and has led eight
previous CDs before the newest one which features his
long-term group.

The three songs on Urban Vernacular, all originals of
Jason Jenkins, each have their own distinct
personalities and inspire the musicians to stretch

“Acceptance,” a modal jazz waltz, introduces the
quartet quite effectively. Simpson takes the lead on
soprano, playing with passion and fluency while not
being shy to dig deep into the tune. Pianist Dowd
displays plenty of spirit during his spot before
Jenkins takes an assertive bass solo that is both
rhythmic and melodic. The eight and a half minutes are
well spent.

“Urban Vernacular” has a quirky melody and tricky
chord changes. No matter, Simpson glides effortlessly
over the chords, coming up with inventive ideas.
Dowd’s solo at various times hints at Red Garland,
McCoy Tyner and Gene Harris without copying any of
those giants. He combines aspects of their playing as
part of his own fresh musical personality.

The concluding “Can’t Win For the Shape I’m In” is a medium-tempo blues that
really lets the players stretch out. Dowd goes first
and then Simpson creates a solo that finds him hinting
as much at a pair of boppish tenor-saxophonists who
doubled on soprano (Zoot Sims and Lucky Thompson) as
at John Coltrane. After another fine statement from
Jenkins and a few ensembles, Dowd takes the piece out
in soulful fashion before the leader has the last

Not to be overlooked is the excellent supportive work
of drummer Williams, whose commentary behind the
soloists is both stimulating and swinging.

The Jason Jenkins Quartet’s latest recording serves as
proof that not all significant jazz comes from the
biggest cities, and shows that Richmond, Virginia may
very well deserve a re-evaluation by the jazz world.


Scott Yanow,
Author of nine jazz books including Bebop, Swing, Jazz
On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film



to write a review

S. Brandy

Good Surprise
Great tunes.... carried me to the edge but not over it..Good buy!