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Recently named one of Five Drummers Whose Time Is Now by the New York Times, Dan Weiss is one of the most in-demand musicians on the jazz scene, performing with Rudresh Mahanthappa,
Miguel Zenon, Lee Konitz, and Dave Binney, among many others. He has been a student of the tabla under his guru Pandit Samir Chatterjee for almost 20 years.
Fourteen is an ambitious work that combines all his myriad influences: it features original compositions for a 14-piece ensemble with guitars, horns, voices, harp, percussion, and organ that is an indescribable amalgam of Indian beat cycles, jazz improvisation, extreme metal, minimalism, Ennio Morricone s film music, and prog rock,
all compounded into a personal outpouring of expression completely beyond musical boundaries. Intended to be listened to in full its seven parts
flow without pause the tracks alternate between ghostly beauty and brutal workouts, by turns intense, cathartic, and transcendent.
Named Top Up and Coming Percussionist two years in a row in the DownBeat Critic s Poll.
A drummer of adaptable flow and microscopic focus. --The New York Times
Weiss is arguably unique among today s jazz drummers, transposing ideas from his tabla study to the drum kit. --All About Jazz
"Dan Weiss has made a habit of surprising jazz fans with his diverse interests. --TimeOut New York
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Dan Weiss (not to be confused with trumpeter David Weiss) began writing the music on this 37-minute collection in 2010, originally as melodic ideas which grew into a grander development. Initially, Weiss was only going to involve close friends such as guitarist Miles Ozazaki (who has worked with Miguel Zenón, and Chris Potter), pianist Jacob Sacks (his résumé includes Eddie Henderson, Christian McBride and Brian Blade) and bassist Thomas Morgan (see Paul Motian, David Binney and Pete Robbins). Weiss’ compositions gradually elongated until a broader vision took over. The result is a tonal palette with many components and instruments woven into the musical fabric.
The nearly eight-minute “Part One” starts with Sacks’ moody piano solo, and within a minute the track extends with several other performers, including wordless vocals which act here and elsewhere as instrumental implements. Horns, glockenspiel, two guitars (classical and later a shredding electric) and harp add to a layered and fiery repetition. By the conclusion, contemplation circles into cacophony. The music flows seamlessly into “Part Two,” where Ozazaki’s genteel classical guitar, Katie Andrews’ harp and Matt Mitchell’s glockenspiel carry a transcendent counterpoint. Weiss’ drums and a wordless vocal trio create an offset percussive cadence, which in turn is supplemented by hand-clapping rendered in the palmas style (a basis for improvisation in Flamenco) which has an overlapping beat.
Weiss has studied Indian classical music for two decades, and that discipline informs much of his previous releases. While that field of scholarship is downplayed on Fourteen, it is not absent and shows up unexpectedly, such as during the daring “Part Three,” where Weiss briefly incorporates an East Indian konnakul vocal into his arrangement. Another highpoint of “Part Three” are David Binney’s alto sax and Ohad Talmor’s tenor sax, which blast away at each other. There’s nothing discreet about this cut. “Part Four” is equally abrasive. Mitchell switches to B-3 organ, while Okazaki fuzzes up his roughened electric guitar. Meanwhile, twin trombones and the two saxes hurtle along through Weiss’ prog-rock-like arrangement.
Weiss has other cards up his sleeve, though. The sublime “Part Five” has a low-register, multi-horn exchange, with subtle percussion comprising glockenspiel, harmonized nonverbal vocals, shifting drums (Weiss uses his sticks on cymbals with a light touch) and tinkling piano notes. And while that same attractive configuration melts into “Part Six,” the restraint is quickly abandoned and is replaced by a darker and noisier design dominated by brasher horns, cascading drum patterns, amped guitar and harshly strummed harp. Weiss echoes the ethereal attraction of “Part Five” on the final segment, “Part Seven,” accentuated by spare piano notes, Jacob Garchik’s low-humming tuba (which seems to be run through a digital effects processor), and Ozazaki’s delicate acoustic guitar. The concluding piece provides an optimistic ending. Dan Weiss’ Fourteen is beautiful and brutal, resplendent and intense. The diverse influences, permeable and repeating motifs, and cross-genre music probably won’t appeal to traditional jazz fans, but those who enjoy material not compounded by boundaries may find plenty to appreciate.