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Jon Gordon - Currents


Jon Gordon - Alto & Soprano Sax
Ben Monder - Guitar
Ed Simon - Piano
Larry Grenadier - Bass
Adam Cruz - Percussion
Bill Stewart Drums

1. Event by (8:13) Jon Gordon
2. Comecar De Novo (5:00) by Ivan Lins
3. The Spins (7:08) by Frank Kimbrough
4. Intention (2:04) by Cruz, Gordon, Stewart
5. Currents (6:26) by Jon Gordon
6. Twilight Soul (7:23) by Jon Gordon
7. Ed's Groove (6:39) by Jon Gordon
8. Three Springs (6:15) by Jon Gordon
9. Shape Up (6:36) by Jon Gordon
10. Alignment (8:00) by Jon Gordon
Total Time 63:49

Listen to CD Tracks

     "Special thanks to Ed, Ben, Larry, Bill & Adam for their great and inspiring music. Thanks to Mike Brorby for his patience and excellent work, and to Jamey D. for his trust and support of this project. Thanks also to Bill Charlap, Ken and Margaerite Stanton, Maria Schneider, Ted Klum and especially to Jen."
    Jon Gordon - April '98

      "Jazz is like a river... it must flow or become stagnant." Art Blakey

    While one is traveling on water, it is the wind and the currents that helps one reach their destination. Currents, the seventh recording as a leader from Jon Gordon, indeed has the wind at it's back. Listening to this recording, the thought kept coming to mind that this is a man at peace with his sound, his concept, his position in the music, and with himself! But don't confuse being "at peace" with being "satisfied." Jon is constantly striving to improve himself, his sound and his concept of the music. He says, "I feel fortunate and honored to have met, talked, and worked with some of the giants in this music. They have set a standard that we all must constantly strive for." Indeed, the work is never done. Jon obviously enjoys the sounds that he is creating on his instruments. This is a rare quality in an artist.

    The musicians that he has assembled to perform his music are all visionaries in their approach. I have a personal history with Edward Simon, having had the opportunity to play with him for five years with my group, Horizon. I know that Ed is a musician that makes one dream... not reminisce. That is what I did while listening to this CD. I dreamed of a world with no bias, no prejudice, and no pretenses; a world where everyone is allowed to participate in this wonderful art form called Jazz... Wow!

    Bill Stewart's performance throughout the CD further confirms why he is one of the most gifted and sought-after drummers on the scene today.
I have had the privilege of watching Bill evolve since his days at William Paterson College.

    Ben Monder is the perfect foil for Jon's Sound. His approach to the guitar represents the times we live in and shows himself to be a fine "Colorist" on his instrument.

    Bassist Larry Grenadier continues to improve with each recording that I listen to. He is truly a talent deserving of wider recognition. Dig the melodic grace of his contribution on this recording.

    Adam Cruz, besides being a dynamic drummer in his own right, reveals his talents of percussion on this CD. In fact, I am familiar with all of the musicians on this project and I can state, without retribution, that they all represent the evolution and the future of Jazz.

    Listening to this recording, I am reassured that Jazz is in good hands. Jazz has evolved to the point where it has transcended ethnic and racial barriers. Submission is the key to success in the music these days. There are many nationalities and experiences at work on this recording. I urge you to bear that in mind while listening because that is part of the pleasure that you will experience on the CD. The program that Jon has selected is well thought-out and is performed with sensitivity and grace. The empathy between each musician is compelling. I'm not saying that this is a revolutionary recording, but it is one that fulfills all of the requirements of true individual expression. No easy task! Believe Me!

 A few words about the music:

    The opening track, "Events", (as Jon explained it), is a simple theme with a "second line" backdrop with Bill and himself "sparring" rhythmically with each other.

    The wonderfully lyrical Ivan Lins tune, "Comecar De Novo" is presented with Jon playing the melody on the soprano sax. Although I am familiar with Jon's alto work, I was equally impressed with his work on soprano. His sound is lucid and pure and his intonation is impeccable! Jon comments, "I had the opportunity to perform this song as a feature with the Maria Schneider Big Band and it's been a favorite of mine ever since.

    "Spins", by pianist Frank Kimbrough, was chosen by Jon after hearing Frank perform it live with his own group. I particularly love the graceful dancing that occurs on this one. Both formal and breezy at the same time.

    "Intention" serves as an interlude into "Currents", the title cut, which (as Jon explains) "has many influences." It was inspired by the Stevie Wonder tune "Master Blaster", the music of The Police, raggae, ska, and a Jim McNeely composition called "Absolution". Listen and dig!!!

    "Twilight Soul", Jon acknowledges, brings to mind the contributions of Wayne Shorter's Blue Note period as well as his Celtic influences.

    "Ed's Groove", is a delightfully uplifting opus that grooves foreverrrrr! I found myself humming this theme daily as I moved throughout my day. This one bears repeated listening to catch the shifting form.

    "Three Springs" utilizes an intervallic structure of three notes as its basic motif. It was inspired by Jon's global travels one year where he literally experienced three springs in one week.

    "Shape Up" is perhaps the most advanced composition on the CD in terms of both vision and structure. From the mysterious opening statement, you know you are in for a brief ride into the future, free of certain past pre-imposed restrictions in musical presentation.

    "Alignment" is dedicated to two of Jon's childhood friends from St. Croix, Derek and Ronnie, who were like brothers to him.

    I saw Jon's performance in Washington, DC at the Thelonious Monk competition when he won it. It was truly a testament to the state-of-affairs in Jazz that this project is not being presented on a major label, (a major label record deal is supposed to be one of the "Perks" for the winner), but, we can be very thankful that it is available for us to enjoy. 'Nuff said!'

    I look forward to watching Jon's continued growth and development as an artist. I expect him to be a major voice on his instrument because he has both the vision and the confidence to make it happen. He must only continue to believe in himself. For any of you that are wondering where the current of the music is flowing... you only have to listen to Jon Gordon's Currents.

    Bobby Watson 5/4/1998