Gene Jackson - drums
Gabriel Guerrero - piano
Carlo De Rosa - double bass
Recorded Tedesco Studios (April 26th 2017)
Engineered by Tom Tedesco
Mixed and mastered at Current Sounds by Bob Ward
Produced by Gene Jackson
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Album artwork and design by Gene Jackson
Gene Jackson plays Zildjian Cymbals and Pearl Drums exclusively
released April 6, 2018
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Along a career timeline glinting with highlight after highlight, drummer Gene Jackson has gained the deserved respect of musical peers and audiences worldwide for his linchpin role in major jazz line-ups from the late 1980s onwards. Initially recording and touring with guitarist Kevin Eubanks, Jackson became the backbone of bands led by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland, as well as collaborating with a panoply of names including Art Farmer, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Joe Lovano and Hugh Masekela, plus the New York Standards Quartet.
For his debut as leader – Power of Love – the Philadelphia-born, Tokyo-based rhythm maker returns to the format perhaps most dear to him, with pianist Gabriel Guerrero and double bassist Carlo de Rosa; both of whom he cites as his inspiration, alongside the indelible friendships and experiences forged in both Hancock’s and Holland’s trios. “Playing all those years with Herbie and Dave, I just fell in love with the environment”, explains the drummer. “When Gabriel and Carlo came over to my place in Brooklyn, it was a great privilege, as both are highly sought after on the scene. We soon realised we had a rapport, and I really liked the vibe – so I knew this was the New York trio I had to record with. For many years, I’ve had a deep love of Afro-Caribbean music, believing this connection to be crucial to American jazz piano and drums – so, as a Colombian, Gabriel brings exciting elements of that culture into his compositions and performance; and that’s important to me as I incorporate these more deeply into my own sound”.
Most of the ten, absorbing tracks are individual, original compositions brought in by each member of the trio. “I like to develop ideas that are not governed by tradition or rules”, the drummer elaborates, “with the freedom to extend phrases and ideas without limitation. Music is an expression of who you are – and when I write and play, I’m conscious that aspects of my life are in there”. Jackson’s own ‘Great River’ follows that lead with blithe piano extemporisation characterized by intelligently ornamented percussion; and bass-bustling ‘Before Then’ (inspired by Ahmad Jamal) revisits his first published song which, until now, has only been recorded on other people’s albums. An oblique arrangement of Cole Porter’s ‘I Love You’ (“I played this with Herbie – he’s like a mad scientist with the harmonies”) is delicately poised throughout; and Thelonious Monk’s distinct angularity is explored in two numbers, the unflappable piano melodies of ‘Played Twice’ sailing nonchalantly across its otherwise swaggering deportment (recalling the leader’s time with Dave Holland).
An apparent simplicity to Carlo de Rosa’s tender ‘A Perfect Tremor’ belies the intricacy of its occasional harmonic and melodic twists, as does delicate yet sprightly ‘Neptune’. Gabriel Guerrero’s agitated ‘Land of the Free‘ and infectiously upbeat bossa nova ‘Lighting’ (newly introduced to the band at the sessions) display facets which delight Jackson, including abstract landscapes and tricksy Latin time signatures; while ‘Lapso’ combines joyous swing with resolute grandeur.
Gene Jackson identifies strongly with his album title: “In the midst of all the craziness that’s going around the world, not just in the States, I believe the power of love is the cure for helping humanity to the right place (the album’s African art symbolizing this). It transcends everything, and there are a multitude of things that can move us forward positively – in the creation of music, in relationships, in dealing with your fellow person, and also spiritually. My music is all about love – and I was taught by Herbie and other great leaders that it should always be in the moment. On this recording, I embraced that moment. It’s the sound I wanted to put out… and I’m alright with that.”
"A myriad of beguiling ideas both in terms of composition and execution... It also highlights the sheer versatility of Jackson's percussive talents."
★★★★ All About Jazz
"Drummer Gene Jackson has been best known as a sideman for Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, but his debut is set to change that... This ensemble is nothing if not cohesive."
"This brilliant ensemble has a sound all it’s own… Beautifully recorded… A wonderful quality of being somehow familiar while engaging and surprising.”
The New York City Jazz Record
"The trio are flexible, creative and tasteful - De Rosa demonstrates his dizzying virtuosity, Guerrero is fleet, swinging and unsentimental, and Jackson powerful without being overly domineering."
"Abstract soundscapes and cheerful swing."
Digitale Jazz Zeitung
“An informal pot-pourri of standards and original compositions.”
“Melodic and harmonic twists delivered with passion.”
Musik an sich
“Oscillating between lightheartedness and virtuosic gravitas... A testimony to what this trio format is capable of.”
"An excellent, authentic album, full of exciting moments of spontaneous harmony."
"Melodic, playful and some intriguing orchestrations."
Nice laid back set from a group of guys generally known for music that is much more intense and complex. This lyrical album should have wide appeal. Smith's playing in particular is meltingly beautiful. duane_harvey
Tenor titan Walter Smith III explores the vast flexibility of the saxophone trio in his newest album as a leader, covering the entire span of the jazz American songbook from Jerome Kern to Wayne Shorter and beyond. jcblodgettmusic