Berklee College of Music: 2017 Sessions: The Best of the Jazz Revelation Records Years (Jazz Revelation)

A review of the compilation album from the student-run label

Berklee College of Music, 2017 Sessions: The Best of the Jazz Revelation Records Years
The cover of 2017 Sessions: The Best of the Jazz Revelation Records Years by Berklee College of Music

Boston’s Berklee College of Music has a storied history of producing annual recordings of its student jazz players dating to the 1950s. Fifteen years ago, production shifted from a college-run endeavor to a student-run label called Jazz Revelation Records. This compilation includes one track from each release from 2004 to 2014.

Gerry Mulligan’s “It’s Not the Moon” from Rebirth (2004) features singer Sara Leib on vocals plus two wordless solos in which she emulates a trumpet and later a trombone. She’s backed by pianist Mark Shilansky, bassist Edward Perez, and drummer Michael Herklots. Drummer Dave Lewis’ original “SH-7” from Two (2005) has more of a pulsing Pat Metheny-ish feel spotlighting guitarist Bryan Baker and keyboardist Tom Thorndike. Tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker’s tight quintet explores his boppish “Fanfare” from Ars Nova (2006), with pianist Leo Genovese, trumpeter Eric Bloom, bassist Hogyu Hwang, and drummer Lee Fish.

Three tracks offer some fine Latin jazz playing: “Todavía No” from The New Old School (2007), an 11-player exploration of pianist Juan Andrés Ospina’s original; pianist Dayramir González’s vibrant “Mabel’s Cha” from Octave (2008) features Jeremy de Jesus on flute; and pianist Juan Perez Rodriguez’s hard-driving flamenco piece “Aguas de Gibraltar” from Catalyst (2013) is enhanced with rhythmic hand claps.

Pianist Cedric Heriot performs his “Louisiana” from Common Ground (2008) with bassist Joshua Hari Brozosky and drummer Dan Pugach. Pianist Emi Inaba’s strings-dominant septet, including bassist Katie Thiroux, explores Inaba’s “New Vision” from Dedication (2009), while pianist Enrico de Trizio’s trio piece “The Journey Ahead” from Birds of a Feather (2010) is gentle and soaring. “Megatune” by mandolinist Bryce Milano from Ripple Effect (2012) also features Roni Eytan on chromatic harmonica, making for a unique musical blend. The closer, “News from the Afterlife” from Upswing (2014), is an exotic feature for composer Axel Hachadi on soprano saxophone and Simon Moullier on vibes in a quintet with guitarist Erick Del Aguila, bassist Max Gerl, and drummer Patrick Simard.

After 2017 Sessions was released, the label evolved into Berklee Revelation Records—with a broader, non-specific-genre approach to better reflect today’s Berklee community. The 2018 and 2019 recordings, Union and Horizon, spotlight young pop songwriters who are doing fine work, but there’s not a lick of jazz.

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