June 2004

Jason Lindner

As the title so neatly puts it, Live/UK catches New York pianist Jason Lindner and his quartet live and overseas. Lindner prefers simple material, open-ended modal or Latin-tinged tunes as improvisational springboards and the kind of bright, open chords that make classic R&B tunes so catchy. His rhythm section, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Marlon Browden, provide the bustling support you hear so often on '70s soul-jazz recordings. Rounding out the period soundscape, saxophonist and flute player Jimmy Green appears now and then to air out his blushing Coltrane-isms.

On the basis of this recording, Lindner never met a two-chord vamp he didn't think he could stretch into a 10-minute throwdown. Linder will ride a phrase or short cadence as far as he thinks it will carry him, and sometimes seems to take a perverse pleasure in repetition. The only concise element here (outside the CD title) is "Intro: Lever du Soleil," which isn't an introduction at all but rather what sounds like a fragment of another 12-minute jam which, had it been included in full, would have pushed the recording time well over an already overlong 70 minutes.

A raconteur not without his charm, Lindner plays with a surplus of personality and in a direct, heavily rhythmic way. He can also be a ham and could stand to add editorial skills to his palette. The gospel set-closer, "Take It to Church," as just one example, would make a nice coda if it were less then half as long and didn't sound quite so glossy.

Originally published in June 2004
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