Friday, April 14, 2017

Jared Sims CD Release Show - Friday, April 14

Friday, April 14
James Street Gastropub, 422 Foreland St., North Side
7 pm

Jared Sims keeps interesting company. While living in Boston, he roomed with Charlie Kohlhase, the top-notch composer and bandleader who plays the same instrument at Sims - baritone saxophone.While studying at the New England Conservatory, he and his mentor Allan Chase, formed a band called Blow-up, which is dedicated to the music of Serge Chaloff, who also played the big horn.A list of Sims' collaborators runs the diverse gamut from Han Bennink to Anat Cohen to the Temptations. On his last album, Layers, he kept himself company, layering a range of saxes and other reeds in a set of Ellington, Monk and Mingus.

Change of Address finds him in a more contemporary bag, but that's no slight against the man or the music. Again, he's in interesting company. Drummer Jared Seabrook is the sibling of guitar and banjo maverick Brandon Seabrook, and a part of Seabrook Power Plant. Bassist Chris Lopes plays with guitarist Jeff Parker in the trio that recorded Blue Light In Winter and Like-Coping. His also married to this album's organist, Nina Ott. Guitarist Steve Fell, another Boston resident, rounds out the group.

The core of Fell, Lopes and Seabrook start out keeping the sound lean and groovy, but they're not here to sit back and relax. They move with Sims, who comes up with a diverse set that takes advantage of the baritone's range, without spending too much time in the bottom end. Ott does an excellent job of straddling atmospheric tones and greasy chords.

The line to "Ghost Guest 1979" has a mysterious air that could have played on tenor. But the crisp baritone delivery gives the minor tune more bite, and makes a great contrast to Fell's wah-wah guitar line. Sims throws in a harmonic twist to the theme of "Lights and Colors" that's simple, but it bends the ear in a catchy manner that deepens the feel of the track. The meditative flow of "Leap of Faith" delivers the most compelling moment of the album, with a rubato baritone melody backed by guitar and organ - two instruments not usually heard in a loose setting - that sounds at times reversed and evocative of space transmissions.

The album title Change of Address refers to Sims' move back from the Boston area to his alma mater West Virginia University in Morgantown, where he serves as Director of Jazz Studies. Being so close to Pittsburgh, he might be on his way to becoming a fixture here. (Maybe he already is, and I've just missed him.) I'm not sure who will be with him for his CD release, but regardless, check it out.

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