Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Show Preview: Adam Meckler Quintet.

This space doesn't normally serve as a preview forum for upcoming Pittsburgh shows. Mainly because I don't have it together to stay on top of previews beyond what I write for the local print media. But within a week of hearing about Adam Meckler's show at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, his CD arrived in a package with a few others by Minneapolis players, so I put it on before I could think twice. Makes me wonder if the Twin Cities area is similar to Pittsburgh, with maturing talent that's not caught by the national radar.

Meckler's trumpet playing is impressive in his wide range on the horn. He easily shifts into the upper register, displaying a brawny tone when he does, sounding clear but with a roughness that adds character to his voice. And speaking of voice, Wander, his second album with his quintet, contains some strong writing, with intriguing melodic lines, rhythm twists and vamps that make an engaging tug at the ear.

Concurrent with his quintet, Meckler also leads an orchestra that received attention for the 2014 release When the Clouds Look Like This, which was inspired by the work of Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue. The quintet get a large sound out of Meckler's trumpet and flugelhorn, along with Zacc Harris (guitar), Graydon Peterson (bass), Greg Schutte (drums) and Joe Mayo (on one track) and Nelson Devereaux (on the rest) (tenor sax/soprano).

The title track tricks the listener a couple times, beginning with a rubato melody vaguely reminiscent of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" before going into a brighter, in-tempo theme. But during the solos the rhythm section tautly holds down a vamp that seems to be in 7/4 with a bar of 5/4 thrown in occasionally. Mayo and Meckler handle it with ease.

The disc comes from three different live performances, which include several pieces where they really stretch out. "The Call" has a staccato melody that resurfaces between solos as Devereaux, Meckler and Harris explore ideas and take things out for 14 solid minutes. "Atomium Jules" adds some skronk and power chords to fray, along with a theme that tips its hat to the Twin Cities' punk forefathers like Husker Du et al. (Well, maybe that's a stretch but these cats can hold their own with the rock.) "Drew's Beard" begins with a folkloric melody, which jumps into a major-minor two-chord groove that makes a great hook.

Opening will be tenor saxophonist John Petrucelli (in a trio), who is one of the city's most promising tenor players.

It all happens on Friday, April 29, starting at 9 p.m. $10. Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4412 Liberty Avenue. The BBT is a great, intimate venue which hasn't had edgey jazz like this in ages. Come check it out.

For more info on the artist, go to www.adammeckler.com

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