“In Unity,” the first track from Human Spirit’s new CD Dialogue, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesday, November 7 … the day after the election. It was the music heard at the end of a segment about how the GOP must regroup after getting blown out by Democrats in the election.
Drummer and composer Matt Jorgensen said, “I’m happy that NPR played my tune. I’m really really happy that Obama won. Oh, and I’ll see everyone in Philly and New York.”
Human Spirit with guest Orrin Evans, piano, Thomas Marriott, trumpet, Mark Taylor, alto sax, Phil Sparks, bass, and Matt Jorgensen, drums played the annual Ballard Jazz Walk in April and the performance was recorded for Jazz Northwest. On this program, the group is heard in a complete set from Conor Byrne in Ballard playing selections from their new CD “Dialogue” recently issued by Origin Records. The program airs Sunday June 17 at 1 PM PDT on 88.5 KPLU and is streamed at kplu.org
Pianist Orrin Evans is a New York-based pianist who also headlined with his own group at the mainstage concert at the Ballard Jazz Festival the following night. He also appears on the new CD.
The Ballard Jazz Walk is part of the annual Ballard Jazz Festival and includes a dozen or more venues featuring live jazz, all within walking distance of each other in old Ballard. Over 70 musicians played during the jazz walk and the music and people spilling out of the small clubs along the street provided a very festive atmosphere. The festival is produced by Matt Jorgensen and John Bishop with production coordination by Chad McCullough and supported by the Ballard business community.
Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke exclusively for 88.5 KPLU and is heard Sundays at 1 PM PDT. A podcast of the program will be available after the broadcast.
Dialogue finds the group—with special guests sitting in on piano and bass—in a live setting at the Earshot Jazz Festival, and sounding very spirited indeed. Jorgensen, Marriott and Taylor have a special genius for for taking the standard jazz quintet—sax, trumpet and rhythm section—and breathing new life into the format. The distinct ensemble sound comes, in part, from the melding of Taylor’s tart tone, with its “lemonade a couple of teaspoons short on the sugar” tang blending with Marriott’s clean, pure timbre. A vibrant simpatico rises up, whether the horn men are playing unison lines or interweaving long notes, leading to always-inspired soloing. Jorgensen, in the drum chair, channels tumultuous grooves and—as the best of the best drummers seem to do (like the late Paul Motian, and Al Foster)—makes everyone sound better, as he subtly boosts the music and catches the ear with the unexpected.
Dialogue‘s tunes are all originals: two by Jorgensen; two from Taylor; and four from perhaps nominal leader Marriott. It’s a live show, and the energy level is high, with mostly up-tempo workouts and lots of fire. And the special guests are inspired choices, as they’ve always been with Human Spirit—whether, as on previous recordings, it was guitarist Corey Christiansen and keyboardist Ryan Burns, or bassists Geoff Harper,Dave Captein or Jeff Johnson. The guest slots on Dialogue go to pianist Orrin Evans, who plays with percussive gusto, and bassist Essiet Essiet, who supplies a solid foundation for the horns’ soaring free flights.
Human Spirit offers up high wire jazz quintet sound with Dialogue, an outing that takes a standard lineup and shifts it into a different dimension.
Track Listing: In Unity; Stepford and Son; Reversal of Fortune; Song for Samuel; After Hours; 148 Lexington; Pelham Gardens.
Personnel: Thomas Marriott: trumpet; Mark Taylor: alto saxophone; Matt Jorgensen: drums; Orrin Evans: piano; Essiet Essiet: bass.
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EXPANDING THE DIALOGUE
THE HUMAN SPIRIT RESIDENCY PROGRAM
Human Spirit shows aspiring musicians how to set achievable goals, avoid complacency and how to use improvisation as a tool to explore musical identity, band cohesiveness and composition. Click here for more info.