The Rafael Jerjen Concept
Soul Station Return
Brian Scanlon alto
Bob Sheppard tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Kye Palmer trumpet, flugel horn
Bob McChesney trombone
Bill Cunliffe piano, rhodes
Rafael Jerjen double bass, electric bass
Joe LaBarbera drums
LAIKA 3510319.2 / EAN Code: 40 177 86 153190 / VÖ: 20.
08 Titel / Gesamtspieldauer: 48:55 Minuten
Titelfolge „Soul Station Return"
- REMEMBER 6:18
- THIS I DIG OF YOU 6:44
- MEMORIES OF MOBLEY 3:05
- DIG DIS 5:20
- SPLIT FEELIN'S 6:39
- LOVE FOR SALE 6:44
- SOUL STATION 7:09
- IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU 6:42
Kompositionen: IRVING BERLIN, HANK MOBLEY, RAFAEL JERJEN, COLE PORTER, RALPH RAINGER, LEO ROBIN
Arrangend by Rafael Jerjen
Produced 2015 by Rafael Jerjen an Bill Cunliffe,
Executive Producer Peter Cronemeyer
All tracks recorded (17th -18th July, 2014), mixed and mastered by Paul Tavenner at Big City Recording Studios, Los Angeles.
Cover photo © by Rachel Cummings
Cover design © by Damien Wright
Artwork © LaikArt, Bremen
Liner notes from Ed Partyka
In the arts, when all the elements come together and magic
occurs it is something special. In jazz music the elements
that have to come together to create this magic are varied
and are often seemingly diametrically opposed to each other.
These elements include improvisation and composition,
organization and freedom, tradition and innovation,
consonance and dissonance, predictability and surprise as
well as security and risk.
Of course when you dig a bit deeper down under the surface these alleged opposites are more like two people in a great relationship; when in balance and synchronized they create a whole that is greater than a sum of their individual parts. Rafael Jerjen has skillfully combined all of the elements listed above (and more) to create something special. His choice of material to perform and choice of musicians to perform this material with was absolutely stellar. The rhythm section is the heartbeat of every jazz group and Rafael could not have found a better accomplice than Joe LaBarbera to anchor his. Joined by Bill Cunliffe, the three seem to be able to read each other‘s minds and whether in a main or supporting role this rhythm section SWINGS. This is some of the best ensemble playing I have heard on a jazz release in recent years and the solo (as well as collective) improvisations pay tribute to the great jazz masters of the past while offering an innovative and creative approach to the genre.
In particular I loved Kye Palmer‘s trumpet solo on “Split Feelin‘s”, Bob McChesney on “This I Dig Of You” and the collective saxophone improvisation of Brian Scanlon and Bob Sheppard on “Dig Dis”. Of course I leave it up to each listener to decide on his or her favorite solo (or solos) and with so many excellent solos to choose from this is no easy task.
The arrangements are absolutely first rate and after repeated listening get better and better. Rafael has used his extensive skills as an arranger and orchestrator to get the most out of these compositions and his ensemble. He makes the band sound larger than it‘s seven members and his variety of arranging techniques keeps things sounding fresh. At several points while listening, this experienced arranger wanted to steal some of Rafael‘s great ideas - that is as good a compliment as I can give! One of my favorite moments on this recording is the intimate duo between Rafael and Bob Sheppard on Rafael‘s original composition “Memories of Mobley”. Whether as arranger or composer, double bass or electric bass player, soloist or foundation of the rhythm section, Rafael is a musician of real skill and talent. Rafael Jerjen has created magic with this recording and I hope you agree.
Ed Partyka Lucerne, Switzerland, November 2014
About "Soul Station Return"
“Soul Station” meant to Hank Mobley what “Kind of Blue”
did to Miles Davis and “Giant Steps” to John Coltrane. This
classic Blue note recording from 1960 featuring Mobley with
an all-star lineup including Art Blakey, Paul Chambers and
Wynton Kelly and became a milestone in jazz history and
arguably the greatest successes of Mobley’s career. 55 years
after the release of “Soul Station” Australian/ Swiss
bassist, Rafael Jerjen has revived, revisited, reworked and
reinvented this gem from the hard bop era with his new album
“Soul Station- Return”.
“I wanted to challenge myself by adding more voices to the original quartet lineup” explained the 26 year old bassist who is considered to be one of the great young talents to have emerged from the Australian Jazz scene in recent years. As such the quartet lineup morphed into that of a septet featuring Jerjen on double and electric bass, alongside Los Angeles based heavyweights Joe LaBarbera (former drummer for the late Bill Evans) and Grammy-winner Bill Cunliffe (piano).
Jerjen asked himself what aspects of the original recording he finds most intriguing and used these as a starting point to develop his concept for the new album. This was the virtuosic and courageous playing between Mobley and his rhythm section through which a grounded swinging carpet is created by Art Blakey to support Mobley’s laid back phrasing. “Hank Mobley’s lyrical playing is also a factor that quickly found its way into my heart. The way in which he weaves through the harmony and creates seamless transitions between different sections in the music is truly inspiring”, exclaimed Jerjen. This led to the bassist incorporating sections of Mobley’s original solos into his arrangements. None the less through the use of an extended horn section (tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet and trombone), “Soul Station- Return” provides the listener with many more timbral colours and textures. Where the original recording is based strongly in the hard bop tradition with its bluesy harmonies and pure swing feels, Jerjen and his crew push the boundaries especially in regards to “grooves”. Their version of “Remember” features a hiphop feel with real “bounce” and “This I Dig of You” incorporates a few tempo changes and a gospel style soul inspired finale. With the addition of two more tracks, Jerjen and his band establish a very personal touch to this Blue Note classic. “These extra tracks breathe a breath of fresh air into the original repertoire” explains Jerjen, who other than these two additions to the repertoire stayed true to the order of the original track listing. “Memories of Mobley” is a duet “a little blues for Hank on a more intimate level” that features tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard on bass clarinet. “Love For Sale” is an original composition by Cole Porter that draws sonic parallels to the music of bassist Anthony Jackson with its reharmonisation, latin-american flair and Jerjen’s electric bass playing. After spending 18 years living in the Australian capital (Canberra), Jerjen returned to Switzerland in 2013. This summer he will finish his Masters degree in Lucerne and then will no doubt be seen in the jazz clubs and festival stages of Europe. “It is important to me to utilise the range of the entire instrument and to play beautiful melodies as part of a musical statement whenever I touch my instrument, I don’t want to just play the bass notes” emphasised the award winning bassist. Furthermore, he has no problem displaying his true personality on stage, Jerjen states; “A stiff unemotional stage presence is not part of my natural state”. For those who have seen Jerjen’s video clips on www.rafaeljerjen.com, and observed how the young man moves to-and-fro with the groove can see the deep connection and love he feels to the music.