Review: Daniel Rosenthal - Lines

Let the music do the talking...
  |   Comments

Daniel Rosenthal - LinesI promised I'd stop backing into jazz reviews with long expositions about my appalling lack of understanding of jazz fundamentals but within the first 10 seconds of trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal's fine album Lines, I found myself reaching for terms not in my musical vocabulary.

I'd explain or at least discuss the rhythm or rhythms of "Subo" if I could. I don't know if they're Latin or Cuban in nature (my meager understanding tells me these can be similar yet different or two completely different things) or if they're Afro-Cuban rhythms. I simply don't know, but there's something going on beneath the melody of Rosenthal's trumpet melody and it's important. The melody is great and maybe you don't need to know what the rhythms are called or from what school they derive at all but I still wish I could tell you more about them

"Reflections" is on the slower side of midtempo with a more traditional feel to it, the upright bass line walking up and down in a familiar way. It's the kind of song you might hear in a noir film with a jazz club/night club setting. The melody is a little less memorable than its predecessor, probably because Kendall Eddy's bass is more prominently featured. Rosenthal and saxophonist Rick Stone's horn work is more improvisational than melodic, which doesn't make it less interesting but might make it less memorable for the great unwashed.

The title track is perhaps my favorite on the album. It's not the only track featuring banjo from Wes Corbett but it's beautifully blended into the sonic palette and Stone's alto sax line is beautiful. It's the longest track on the album but it never feels that way.

"Skippy" is along the lines of "Reflections" in there is a lot of improvisational playing throughout while "Wedding Waltz" is a return to a more melodic composition and once again features Corbett's banjo and Austin McMahon's drumstick dances across the cymbal.

Daniel Rosenthal's Lines is a rewarding 60 minutes and reminds me why my standard disclaimer when dealing with jazz is so silly. I sometimes think about music and other times let music think for me. It can be helpful and intellectually interesting to understand what you're hearing and why you like it, but it's not necessary. I allowed Lines to lead and it turns out it's not so bad to follow.