Pick of the Week: James Farm

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Thursday June 09, 2011


Pick of the Week: James Farm – James Farm (Nonesuch)
By: John Schaefer

Let’s not call James Farm a supergroup, shall we? All-star bands rarely equal the sum of their parts, but this quartet’s debut album, also called James Farm, has got to be one of the most exciting things to happen in jazz in the past couple of years. Even non-jazz fans will recognize Joshua Redman’s name, but pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland have sterling reputations and are in no way overshadowed here.

What’s most interesting about James Farm is this: they combine a traditional-looking jazz quartet ‘” sax, piano, bass and drums ‘” with a repertoire that clearly draws on soul, world music, electronica, minimalism, and the rhythms of rock.

All four musicians are also composers, which adds to the diversity of the material. But one thing doesn’t change: the group’s almost paranormal chemistry and ensemble playing. It’s a terrific debut, from the quartet James Farm.

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