The Dancer

Ezra Weiss, piano; Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Antonio Hart-alto sax and flute; Kelly Roberge-tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet; Leon Lee Dorsey, bass; Billy Hart or Jason Brown, drums.


Pianist Ezra Weiss’s new album of all originals for jazz sextet shares much in common with classic early 1960s Blue Note albums featuring similar instrumental line-ups, which is unusual for reasons other than the fact that for Weiss, born in 1979, the ’60s are not even a hazy memory. Still, like those classic albums—I’m thinking of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch or Wayne Shorter’s The All Seeing Eye—there’s an amazing group energy that comes from a real sense of the music being shared. The big difference here is that most such records were led by horn players rather than from the keyboard. For a pianist, Weiss is remarkably understated, allowing his sidemen to shine and share center stage with him. But that’s not to say he’s got nothing to say pianistically—listen to the sensitive way he comps under bassist Leon Lee Dorsey in “The Dancer”—rather, he is aware that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts which is the essence of good classical chamber music playing and great small group jazz playing as well. It’s ultimately also the essence of being a good composer too. It’s noteworthy that Weiss, who studied composition with Wendell Logan at Oberlin, identifies himself as a composer first; he is!


—FJO

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