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Jordan Gravel | Collage

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Jazz: Piano Jazz Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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by Jordan Gravel

Collage is jazz pianist Jordan Gravel's second release. It is in the piano trio setting, and begins with an original track called The Yeti. The album then delves into popular jazz standards and popular music interpretations such as MGMT's "Kids".
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Yeti
4:55 album only
2. Come Sunday
7:14 album only
3. Kids
6:15 album only
4. Bill's Bill
8:06 album only
5. Isobel
6:58 album only
6. Beatrice
6:41 album only
7. Bluesette
7:18 album only
8. Sos
6:09 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Artist: Jordan Gravel
Album: Collage
Review by Matthew Forss

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Jordan Gravel is a talented jazz pianist that explores both original, instrumental music and pop standards. Jordan is joined by Ron Wiltrout on drums and Jeremy Wolf on bass. The eight track release contains five to eight minute compositions that run the gamut from pensive to upbeat. Collage is a vibrant mix of jazzy leanings that fit the contemporary jazz mold quite well.

“The Yeti” opens with a rousing drum-line, jazzy piano, and strolling bass that keeps pace in a breezy manner. The toe-tapping percussion is accentuated by the drum-stick taps on the drum edges, along with a few clattering cymbals. The mid-tempo piano melody is sweeping and lighthearted. The combination of bass, piano, and drums creates a sound much larger than previously imagined. The instrumentation slows down during the latter half of the song, but the drums keep rolling along.

“Come Sunday” begins with a slow, bass line and pensive percussion that is very light overall. The piano notes interject a type of soulful, R&B ambiance. The upright bass shows some promise with an engaging display of musicianship that rivals the work of Ron Carter. However, the piano makes a vanguard appearance mid-song. The jazzy piano playing is bright, cheery, and groovy. The instrumental song signifies what contemporary jazz music is all about—variety.

“Kids” is an instrumental cover song of the same name by MGMT—a psychedelic rock/pop group from Connecticut. Jordan’s version is strictly piano-based, which features a bit of upright bass work and jazzy percussion. The basic melody of the original song is inherent in Jordan’s instrumental version. The piano tones are quiet and loud, depending on the location in the song. The sweeping, gentle melody is emotive, calming, and blissful. The result is a cathartic romp into the world of MGMT, jazz, and covers songs. It is a fitting song for a jazz interpretation.

“Bill’s Bill” opens with a gentle piano melody, rickety percussion (in a good way), poignant bass line, and jazzy effervescence that are sure to reach the heart and soul of anyone that listens to it. The galloping percussion and jazz-centric melody is top-notch throughout. Notably, the song is dedicated to and named for Bill Murray, who gave Jordan a performance tip at Charleston’s Leaf Café.

“Isobel” is a Latin-tinged, jazz song that opens with a jazzy, South American-inspired piano line that is actually a cover song by Iceland’s Bjork. The piano is joined by sparse percussion in the form of a drum-kit with a frame drum sound. The sparkling piano notes are inflected with doses of upright bass and pop standard charm. Jordan wastes no time getting to the climactic end with a rousing array of acoustic drums, piano, and bass accompaniment.

Jordan Gravel’s new work of musical art, Collage, is a perfect mix of classy pop standards, jazzy leanings, and contemporary instrumentals that create a voice of their own without any vocalizations. The trio’s instruments are relatively commonplace in the world of jazz, but their sounds are much more determined here than in other settings. The pleasant instrumental songs are plaintive and upbeat throughout. The lack of vocals does not hinder the musical power reflected in the delivery. The somewhat lengthy album is well worth a listen for jazz, instrumental, classical, and pop standard fans. Collage is appropriately-titled, as it contains a mix of different jazz melodies on piano and bass. However, kaleidoscopic is another term to describe the album, which is not too far from the truth here.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)



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