Best Jazz Album: “LongWay Home”
Best original Composition: “Long Way Home”
Best arrangement of a cover: “Here comes the Sun”
This record is documenting the great Trio holding down the fort at the Dispensary Lounge for the last several years.
Featuring Dave Ostrem (Pat Martino, Clint Homes, Eastman Artist) and Angelo Stokes (Canopus Artist).
It features 6 original tracks, three Beatles tunes and one Standard. All original music and arrangements by Uli Geissendoerfer.
This project was honed with his regular trio at the Dispensary Lounge, where he has been Curator of Music for the last six years. Throughout these performances backing up a multitude of singers and visiting guest artists, his Trio has crafted a plush beautiful sound, which you hear in spades on this album. With Dave Ostrem on acoustic bass and Angelo Stokes on drums, Long Way Home is a unique and virtuosic journey for the listener that bridges the gap between many different colors of Jazz, non-Western, and improvised music, while also paying beautiful homage to some of the most important pop musicians of the twentieth century.
The album opens with a colorful arrangement of The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun. Uli takes a familiar tune and renders a fresh perspective showcasing his vividness as an arranger and composer. This arrangement was originally written for Uli’s quintet “Colors” and their Beatles jazz tribute and features a complex 13/8 time ostinato motive that becomes the backdrop for this ubiquitous pop anthem.
The Long Way Home is dedicated to Uli’s mother. A meditative and pulsing creation, this number unfolds with well-placed solos and space. “When I started writing the moody minor melody, it had such an ‘old world’ feel and I really didn’t expect it to finally end up in major. Thus ”coming home” was my immediate impression after finishing it.”
Urban Cowboy, the first original composition for the trio, has been featured in several videos and was inspired by Jake Langley, master guitarist and genuine cowboy (complete with chickens). At its core is simple blues that becomes a playing field for all three to expand upon it. The trio displays its breadth of style as the tune takes flight from the first sustained and provocative bass riff and grows with verve throughout.
The next two tracks are very retrospective as they reach back when Uli first delved into Jazz. Sudden Moment is the first jazz tune he wrote, a testament to his precocious talent. Monk’s Mouse, written soon after, is a respectful and honest tribute to Thelonious Monk. “Hearing Monk I can never help but smile. His incredible playing and writing always puts you in a good mood. He’s the father of quirk, surprise, and tongue-in-cheek with an almost endless depth. Monk’s use of the augmented scale helped this one come about. The title is the necessary homage.” Monk’s musicianship has influenced a legion of pianists, but rarely do we hear such an extraordinary tribute from a disciple to his inspiration which evokes elements of Monk the master in a piece that sparkles with novelty.
5-67 features guest drummer Ryan Rose, who after hearing the original tune, said, “Man, you should do a Brazilian bridge.” This track in a 7/8 meter takes its title from the bass groove and is a musical answer to the award-winning track “3-41” from his 2012 album “Colors”.
Be Still is an intimate and touching tribute to Uli’s son, Leonardo. Written by his left hand, as the pianist held his three-month old son in his right, we can almost hear a young father whispering to his son through emotive touch and musicality.
On the classic You and the Night and the Music, the trio takes a tune usually played with a medium swing feel and utilizes a slower and more mysterious odd meter vibe. The contrasting bridge offers a brief moment of the class swing iteration of the tune.
Blackbird Comes Together take the iconic Beatles tunes to mixed metered places, balancing innovation and homage in a fascinating juxtaposition.
I listen to many albums every year and I have to say that this one is a cut way above the rest.
Long Way Home is an out-and-out dazzler.
Kabir Sehgal Grammy and Latin Grammy award winning producer and author
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