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Discoveries

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 6, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2011 from the Jazz musician. With his fifth album as a leader, Los Angeles-based pianist, composer, and arranger Josh Nelson continues to broaden his scope with a fresh and wholly personal take on the Jazz tradition. Brimming with stimulating ideas and chock-full of sterling solos from his very capable crew, Discoveries sets the bar higher than Nelson's previous acclaimed outings.

Review

A definite fresh sound by a guy who should be in everyone s iPod. --George Harris, Jazz Weekly

Nelson distinguishes himself as a first-rate player and composer with a fresh, wholly personal take on the music. --Bill Milkowski

Jazz pianist Josh Nelson has been hailed as someone to hear and see in the new generation of jazz musicians. --Jennifer K. Bauer, Lewiston Tribune
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 6, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Steel Bird Music
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • ASIN: B005BFLR9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,002 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I actually bought the hard copy of Discoveries from Amazon, because I like the artwork, and have spent the last few months getting to know it.

It is a beautiful piece of work. It is one of the most consistently original instrumental albums I have ever aquired. It embodies a particular kind of aesthetic sensibility - not so much 'old-fashioned' as 'retro', as if it has tapped into a hitherto unknown branch of the great tradition of contemporary composition. (I hesitate to call it 'jazz' as that is a bit narrow for this CD.)

The two stand out tracks are the first, Atma-Krananda, which, as the name implies, is a very spiritual piece constructed around a 'piano-raga'. It is also a study in the artistry of modern composition and instrumentation, with an interesting set of solos from the contributing artists. The other is the title track, which is also based on a simple piano motif, elaborated through a series of ensemble pieces and solos. Griffith Park Promenade is another delightful piece, and probably the most straight-ahead jazz composition in the collection.

The instrumentalists are all interesting and each brings a particular sensibility to the overall sound. The main soloists, apart from the leaders piano solos, are trumpet, trombone, and guitar. The horn players are interesting soloists although sometimes I would have preferred other instrumentation, perhaps soprano sax. There seems to be a bass clarinet in the mix which lends interesting colour to many of the ensemble passages.

There are a few pieces on the album that don't appeal to me, mainly because of the over-reliance on dissonance. Jogging Day begins with a highly dissonant piano vamp, and several of the other pieces also have dissonant passages that I find a bit hard to take.
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For those who are long-time fans of Josh Nelson's work, Discoveries is something of a departure. It's as though the last few albums from this amazing pianist were building a foundation that could support the launch of this new endeavor.

I have to admit that as an L.A. native I was lucky to attend the CD launch and witness the multimedia extravaganza that framed this amazing new work. And while the album is fantastic, I have to say that the video and art that were a part of the launch really took it to another level. Josh, if you read this, please, please, please release a DVD!

Needless to say this album has been in my CD changer ever since I purchased it. If Stanley Kubrick had ever decided to make a film based on the premise that Jules Verne met H.G. Wells and went to tea at a bistro run by Fritz Lang, then Discoveries would surely have been the score.

The musicianship of the session players on the album is superb. Dan Schnelle's percussion is unbelievable, as ahead of its time as the fiction of Wells and Verne. And Vanessa Robaire's vocals are timeless, they could have been recorded in the 1940's or in the 2040's, the collaboration makes this album ageless.

Enough about the creative aspect, the production values are also amazing. Every time I listen to it there's some new aural easter egg awaiting me. It's fresh even after countless listenings.

If you're a fan of great jazz, you don't want to have a blemish on your collection by neglecting to include this incredible album. And if you're new to jazz, you may want to wait before listening to Discoveries... there's a lot of great contemporary jazz artists out there, don't spoil it by listening to the best album of 2011 first ;-)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Josh Nelson has a rare talent for channeling innovative, beautiful, and rare concepts. His music speaks to what the past tells us about who we are now, what the past still can teach us, and how scintillating and energizing the convergence of the past and present can be.
Wonderful lyrical passages, with a drive that compels us into the future with all the daring exploits that resulted in what we know as our best and truest means of communicating with one another today.
Buy it Buy it and love it.
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This is the best that I've ever heard Josh Nelson, both in terms of composition and improvisation; and I've actually been listening to him since his days as a student in Long Beach. His phrasing and lines are tasteful and delicate -- a word that I don't use to describe jazz piano very often. His harmonies and choice of voicings flow seamlessly as the music unfolds; a sophistication that I probably wouldn't be able to appreciate if I weren't a jazz musician myself. I've listened to this album straight through at least 20 times, and I always find something new.

I've spoken a lot about his harmonies, voicings, lines, and progressions; but rhythmically speaking, this album is fresh and interesting. It's marinated in ostinatos & hemiolas, seasoned with odd time signatures & meter changes, and dripping with syncopation. Once again, the key here is "tastefulness" (although that last sentence implies "tastiness" lol). The way in which the players express their ideas in a subtle and mature manner is very enjoyable. I'd highly recommend this album to anyone. However, if you're new to jazz, you might want to revisit this after you've seasoned a bit.
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