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Soul Journey Limited Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, March 4, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Soul Journey features an exceptional program of nine intriguing compositions by Michael Weiss, a composer and bandleader of the first rank, who has forged a broad-minded aesthetic that marries deep respect for the jazz tradition with a modernist's commitment to make it new. Soul Journey eschews the current vogue for homage and tribute albums and recycling the conventions of yesterday in favor of carving a personal sound world with the tools of melodic integrity, harmonic richness, rhythmic surprise, expressive detail, formal ingenuity, intellectual honesty and emotional depth. Weiss isn't afraid to reference the past, but his music exists totally in the present.

What is most striking about Soul Journey is the diversity of the compositions, the dexterity which Weiss develops his materials and the way the forms and improvisations merge into an organic whole. Take for example, El Camino, which won the Grand Prize in the 2000 BMI/Thelonious Monk Institute's Composition Competition. Weiss' expert tailoring fully exploits the sonorous potential of the trumpet, alto saxophone and trombone front-line and a fully interactive rhythm section. El Camino blends south-of-the-border rhythms with an active bassline, vivid harmonies and a lithe, through-composed melody adorned by an introduction, interludes, coda and background figures adding spice to the improvised solos.

"What's going to drive jazz forward is a greater integration of composition and improvisation rather than the same old head-solos-head format," says Weiss. "I want to keep the music fresh and interesting."

About the Artist

After moving to New York City in 1982 from his native Dallas, by way of Indiana University, pianist Michael Weiss quickly found work with Jon Hendricks, Lou Donaldson, Slide Hampton and the Junior Cook/Bill Hardman Quintet. In 1987 Weiss became Johnny Griffin's regular pianist and has since recorded four albums with him. He has also worked with Art Farmer, Charles McPherson, George Coleman, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, the Jazztet, Pepper Adams, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Gary Bartz and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. In addition, he has appeared with Wynton Marsalis on "Live From Lincoln Center" on PBS and "Making the Music" on NPR. Other radio and TV appearances include NPR's "Jazzset," "Piano Jazz" and the CBS news digest program, "Nightwatch."

Weiss has recorded three previous albums as a leader, all of which have been hailed by the critics. His debut, "Presenting Michael Weiss" (Criss Cross) was named a Stereo Review Best Recording of the Month in October 1987. "Power Station" (DIW) made the Fanfare Critic's Want List in 1998 and was a Top Five pick in Jazz Times in 1998. "Milestones" (SteepleChase) received four and a half stars from Downbeat.

Most recently, Weiss' composition skills were recognized by Chamber Music America, which awarded him a prestigious New Works: Creation and Presentation grant for 2003.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 2003)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Original Release Date: March 4, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Sintra Records
  • ASIN: B00008OTM2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,916 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on October 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Having heard Weiss with Johnny Griffin and Art Farmer, there was no doubt about the quality of his soloing and accompanying. However, Weiss' compositional prowess is no better displayed than on his latest CD. All the tunes are intricately designed with a multisectional approach. Atlantis and El Camino are notable for their extended endings, where bassist Paul Gill has his hands full. There is plenty of ensemble writing and great solos from all the members. In addition to Weiss' solos, Wilson's playing stands out, especially on the funky title track where Wilson's solo enters at the end of the tune.
I recommend this CD to anyone who is looking for new, fresh writing rooted in the best of the hardbop tradition.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is available new at with all proceeds going to the artist! Support independently produced projects like this one.
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