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Jason Adasiewicz: Sun Rooms

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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