Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jordan Young Group

Jordan Young (drums)
Jordan Young Group (self produced; 2010)
Brian Charette (organ)
Yotam Silberstein (guitar)
Joe Sucato (sax)

One of the main reasons I was drawn to the Jordan Young Group's self-titled debut was the fact that the leader was from Detroit. Detroit has long tradition of music legends across multiple genres (Iggy Pop, Juan Atkins, Elvin Jones).

Jordan Young has a nice pedigree in his short career. He has studied and played with some of Detroit's greatest musicians, including Gerald Cleaver, Marcus Belgrave and James Carter to name a few. Young's playing is understated but precise. The influences of Jimmy Cobb or Philly Joe Jones seem apparent. But as leader of this organ based trio, Young is also very good director of a tight and skillful collection of musicians.

The Jordan Young Group while consisting of some interesting covers, a few interludes penned by organist, Brian Charette and one full track by Young, is still a solid effort and demanding of repeat listens.

Opening with a surprising version of Pat Metheny's "H and H", the group transform this trio piece into a vibrant and exciting excursion. "H and H" gives each member moments to shine individually. Young's playing is sharp and well refined. He has a couple rolling moments that really catch the ear. Sucato's sax is killer and has a nice Stanley Turrentine vibe to it. Charette and Silberstein both display funky exchanges, with Young keeping the group in great timing. A great opener and nice prelude to what is to come throughout the session.

As I've said with other organ based groups, its difficult to kept the organ from overtaking the rest of the group sometimes. On the Jordan Young Group that doesn't happens. Charette's playing is leveled and masterful. The arrangements and choices Young and the rest of group have chosen highlight this through the intricacies of the quartet. "Every Time We Say Goodbye" is a wonderful rendition of the Cole Porter standard that emits a lovely tone through Charette and Sucato's performances. The groups interludes, "Pings", while short still give insight into what the band can do for the future. These are like short films or cut-ups. Giving a futurist, post modern element that the rest of the albums standards may not project. Charette and Young drives these pieces with swirling patterns and subtle improvisations.

Jordan Young's own, "Claudes Monet", the group display a loving touch that is straight ahead but still richly rewarding. It's a beautiful ballad that again gives the individual members a chance to shine and the listen a closer opportunity to hone in on Young's playing and compositional skills. Another stellar performs comes on the yearning "My One And Only Love" where the group again shows a great deal of pose within a classic number. Young while the leader of group shares a great deal of skill like the aforementioned drummers and possibly even more recently with Paul Motian in making is playing understated when needed and boisterous when demanded. In "My One And Only Love" it's definitely in the background, allowing his group to take the lead nicely.

On the Wayne Shorter piece "Angola", Young is required to up-the-ante and energize the group with a really magnificent performance. The group's response is smokin'. Young lets loose on a vicious solo midway through that you didn't hear or expect from the earlier portion of the album. It's a good opportunity to experience the full range of Young's playing and direction. The Jordan Young Group closes with another Ping which again could foreshadow a future direction for the group and that I hope comes to disc soon.

Jordan Young has definitely learned a lot from his Detroit mentors. But I think the most important thing was how to be a leader. The Jordan Young Group is fantastic debut from a quartet that display great versatility with originals as well as inventiveness with the elements of the past. A solid effort worth your time and money.

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