Sunrooms_span3
March 2011

Jason Adasiewicz
Sun Rooms
Delmark Records

Vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz has created excitement in all kinds of settings, including his Chicago quintet Rolldown, which released the acclaimed Varmint (Cuneiform) in 2009. But not until Sun Rooms, a wondrous trio outing, has a recording showcased his full range as a player and composer. Adasiewicz (pronounced Adda-SHEV-itz) is known for the insistent melodicism he achieves with his antic four-mallet attack. Bridging stark minimalism and animated freebop, the music on Sun Rooms, featuring bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed, is in a state of constant motion—and constant reinvention.

Building on a chiming two-note figure, the hard-driving “Get in There” breaks into openness with graceful abandon. Laying down trailing accents with his left hand behind swelling melodic statements from his right, Adasiewicz feeds the multi-dimensionality of the tune. The band thrives on the play between background and foreground: On “Life,” an original in a loping Monkish mode, McBride’s full-bodied strumming and plucking rises over distant ringing tones. Grabbing the listener with an opening drum shot straight from Gene Krupa’s playbook and a resounding swing passage, “Stake” anchors itself to an aggressively repeated five-note phrase, framed by Reed’s smartly understated playing.

The album concludes with three fascinating covers: the spacey and stately “Off My Back Jack,” by pianist and onetime Max Roach collaborator Hasaan Ibn Ali; Sun Ra’s lovely “Overtones of China,” featuring a demonstrative solo by Reed; and Duke Ellington’s “Warm Valley,” introduced by a lyrical McBride solo. Sun Rooms boasts the cozy naturalism suggested by its title but also streaks of invention that dazzle and excite.

Originally published in March 2011
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