Michael Feinberg, Blues Variant Review
Michael Feinberg has compiled a solid ensemble to bring us his latest project titled Blues Variant. The album is his Criss Cross record label debut as a leader. Feinberg is joined by tenor saxophonist and flutist Noah Preminger, pianist Leo Genovese, and drummer Nasheet Waits. In addition, saxophonist David Liebman makes several appearances on saxophones and flute. The program consists of six Feinberg originals and an original by tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger and one by pianist Leo Genovese. Feinberg also includes an exemplary arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s “Eye Of The Hurricane,” on which Liebman guests on saxophone.
Feinberg’s music has many roots in the John Coltrane quartet of Jimmy Garrison, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones’ jazz language of the 60s. Check out the spiritually minded “Saqqara” and “The Water Brought Us, The Water Spirit Will Take Us Home” for a more traditional sound from the 60s and “High or Booze” for a more modern take on the language.
“Eye of the Hurricane” brings a well-known vehicle for jazz fans to enjoy the quartet’s listening skills. Augmenting the quartet is Liebman on soprano saxophone, on which he performs a beautiful swinging solo, as does Genovese and Preminger. Feinberg’s swing feel is broad, buoyant, and constant, giving the soloist a foundation to explore.
“The Healing Power of Grits” and “Cycle Song” offer a modern jazz sound of groove and flowing melodies through twisting forms. Each selection provides a new feel and a chance to hear how Feinberg approaches groove-based music. His sense of space and flow gives the music much power.
“Gather Power” and “Year of Ox” are hard-hitting selections with fine solos and the ensemble displaying their elastic skills at building a musical story of impact as an ensemble. Keeping the music focused and evolving with harmonic and melodic colors as the feel evolves.
“Improvisation (For Leslie)” is a solo bass performance that shows Feinberg’s skills as a soloist and crafter of melodies that develop in the album’s only feature of Feinberg’s soloing.
Blues Variant is an album showing Feinberg as a foundational groove bass player at home in many jazz styles. His role as a leader is successful with a strong ensemble that brings the music to life with solid energy and a common language. Jazz fans will want to hear what Feinberg is doing on Blues Variant. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Michael Feinberg: Website |
January 6, 2023
Criss Cross Records