Nelson Brill, Boston Concert Reviews
Trombone also plays glorious partner to sax in another blazing recording session brought to us by the young baritone saxophonist, B.J. Jansen, on his new recording, Common Ground.
Jansen joins one of my favorite trombonists, the dapper and keenly creative Delfeayo Marsalis, in a collective that also includes trumpeter Duane Eubanks; bassist Dezron Douglas; pianist Zaccai Curtis and the indefatigable drummer, Ralph Peterson. They create another barn burning session that is captured on this recording in all its intense up-front energy and tactile crackle.
The heat is immediately felt on “Stacey’s Plan” as Jansen’s reedy baritone plunges and flows deep in partnership with Douglas’ bass and Marsalis’ colorful trombone declarations (filled with high note blares and slippery slides). Curtis shines with keyboard prowess as he delivers tight bluesy turns of phrase and deft soft note accents. “Bucket Full of Soul” also swings kinetically on Jansen’s baritone pelts and gutsy breeze (blowing from high registers to low) with Marsalis working his creative banter and bluster. In contrast, “Brandon’s Blues” walks in slow strides as baritone and (muted) trombone take a stroll in warm meandering fashion, until Eubanks trumpet interrupts with his brazen calls – all angular, creative shine. This glittering band can do anything it wills: moving effortlessly from the full bore swing of “Angela’s Aggravation” to the melodic flow of “Relaxin’ With Jessica”. The title cut, with a feel of John Coltrane’s combination of soulfulness and heat, is ignited by Jansen’s baritone solo roiling in colorful declarations of low reedy power and heft partnered with Douglas’ heady bass rolls and Peterson’s snare and cymbal power. The magnetic Peterson is a creative gale force throughout the recording. His percussive foundation lays the brickwork for all the garlands of sonic riches and grooves that are delivered from this tight adventurous band flourishing in their companionship.