JAZZ IN SPACE

JAZZ IN SPACE: October 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

MASON BROTHERS, TWO SIDES, ONE STORY

Spring boarding off their experience with the Mingus Big Band and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Brad and Elliot Mason, who grew up in Norwich, England and settled in New York by way of Boston where they studied at Berklee College Of Music, launch their impressive debut, “Two Sides, One Story” (Archival Records) with cutting edge support from pianist Dave Kikoski (Jeff “Tain” Watts), bassist Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez on drums.  The brothers – Brad on trumpet and Elliot on trombone – are adept students of post-modern bop, and they fearlessly stake out territory that recalls the dazzling, unadulterated early work of the brothers Marsalis (Wynton provides the reverential liner notes and bon mots).

The album has a classic feel by design, engineered and mixed by James Farber for maximum warmth and immediacy, and the duo’s intricately detailed originals create a happening soundstage. Among the tasty originals, the moody ballad “Gone Home” with vibes player Joe Locke stands out, as does “Evil Eye,” commissioned for a silent film by filmmaker Hans Richter and featuring wiry riffs by the compelling guitarist Tim Miller. Saxophonist Chris Potter sits in for two cuts, the Coltrane-inspired “Stage Pints” (an anagram of “Giant Steps”) and the closer, “In The Third Person,” a dazzling display of flat out swing. Drummer Sanchez excels at providing percussive fireworks especially on “24/7” while the finely tuned bass notes from Scott Colley bubble and boil.  But it’s tough to pull the spotlight off pianist Kikoski, a well-versed jazz warrior, who compliments the Masons’ in-the-pocket grooves with such scintillating flare, you’ll be clamoring for more. (8 tracks; 68:16 minutes) 

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