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Hush Point Blues and Reds

Hush Point is proud to announce Blues and Reds (October 14th / Sunnyside), the follow up to the Brooklyn quartet’s acclaimed 2013 self-titled debut, named by the New Yorker as “among the most substantial jazz albums of the year” and described as “…surprising music, much of it a kind of x-rayed blues” (The New York Times).

A lot of commitment is required for a band to develop musical ESP, and it was in this spirit that saxophonist Jeremy Udden of the rural-jazz combo Plainville (“Southern gothic maturity, folk song simplicity, and garage rock pathos”- The New York Times) and trumpeter John McNeil (“one of the best improvisers working in jazz”- The New York Times) began to meet regularly in 2011 to work on their concepts of composition and improvisation. Over time, they added a rhythm section, bassist Aryeh Kobrinsky and drummer Anthony Pinciotti, and Hush Point was born.

The continuing aim of Hush Point is to play as a single entity, to anticipate musical changes and play something non-composed as if it were a written arrangement. “John and I play together so much we've begun to play improvised lines in unison,” remarks Jeremy. "It's uncanny. At first, John thought I was messing with him and he got angry and tried to kill me, but hey, that's all part of developing a group sound. Just kidding. Really."

Blues and Reds begins with Udden’s “Live in Stockholm,” a city where he learned Swedish folk music and eventually turned it into tribal, bass-propelled cool jazz. “Wu Wei,” a slightly boogaloo-flavored song, is “something Jeremy wrote at Kung Fu school in China,” according to McNeil.

John's "Petit Moineau” is a beautiful ¾ ballad named for French chanteuse Edith Piaf, his first love as a little boy. “She broke my heart by taking up with a number of other men. This tune proves that love is, well, dumb sometimes.”

The up-tempo, swinging “HDMB” ("Highly Derivative Minor Blues." Or "Hello, Dave Matthews Band") was written by McNeil, and then Jeremy transformed it by using a Bob Brookmeyer solo as a surreal interlude. (The late Bob Brookmeyer is a big Hush Point influence. He was a mentor to Jeremy Udden and played on his first record.)

You never think of B.B. King and Vladimir Lenin as being buddies, but the title tune, Udden's “Blues and Reds,” is incontrovertible proof that they were.

Kobrinsky’s “Scuffle” is an angular, intervallic six-bar blues intended to punish the horn players for some imagined slight. “Dreams,” by Udden, has long, flowing lines and terrific counterpoint between alto and trumpet during the blowing sections. In contrast, his “Moments Of Truth” resembles an Ornette Coleman-like dirge. As McNeil says, "Everybody has a moment of truth once in a while. The trick is to ignore it and keep playing music for a living."

Concluding the program, McNeil’s “Four and More” is a mystery tune. By deciphering clues in the title, you can figure out where the chord progression comes from and win a car.

Hush Point’s organic development has stemmed from the fact that all of the members are dedicated to listening, talking and working together. As they push themselves and the music forward, Blues and Reds serves as a fascinating mile marker on the road.
credits
released 14 October 2014

John McNeil - trumpet
Jeremy Udden - sax
Aryeh Kobrinsky - bass
Anthony Pinciotti - drums

hush point downbeat

"Cool jazz and free-jazz are often posited as polar opposites. But Hush Point, a collective quartet formed by trumpeter John McNeil and saxophonist Jeremy Udden, aims to bridge that divide with tunes that are both soft-spoken and spontaneous. With drummer Vinnie Sperrazza sticking solely to brushes and bassist Aryeh Kobrinsky playing with a warm front-porch folksiness, the group emphasizes a muted intimacy. The disc opens with Jimmy Giuffre’s “Iranic,” which sets the pace by diving the quartet into a series of duos, each one a miniature dialogue. Giuffre is reprised for “The Train And The River,” a stealth locomotive of taut forward momentum. The remainder of the disc is made up of originals. McNeil’s “Peachful” is relaxed and summer-sun hazy, while Udden’s “B. Remembered” is a loose-limbed bop homage to his mentor, Bob Brookmeyer. Kobrinsky’s elastic intro to his closer, “Cat Magnet,” sets the uneasily swaying pace for a bit of inebriated country-gospel rejoicing. Hush Point’s name gives away their M.O., though that first word shouldn’t be taken to imply timidity. Take the coiling, intertwining lines of Udden’s “Bar Talk” or the simmering, darting intrigue of McNeil’s “Finely Done”: The foursome has a kinetic chemistry no less powerful for being kept under a constant, careful restraint."

Shaun Brady, Downbeat

Nice review by Phil Freeman on Burning Ambulance.

"What’s most exciting about this album is the way these four players blend avant/free approaches to melody and interplay with techniques that go back to jazz’s earliest days—there’s an almost Dixieland feel to “B. Remembered,” and “Cat Magnet” is a strutting, finger-snapping blues, something that feels shockingly rare in a time when many young, critically hailed jazz musicians seem wholly allergic to the blues, or to any melody that doesn’t shove exactly how long they spent practicing at college in your face. Half the time, the members of Hush Point don’t even seem like they’re playing for a listener; with its gentle, unobtrusive drums, throbbingly human bass, and whispering, breathy horn lines, the album can make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a private conversation."

Fantastic review of the album by Ben Ratliff.

It’s an album of dry and intimate and surprising music, much of it a kind of X-rayed blues language, volume cut in half, swing rhythm subtly stretched into more up-to-date grooves, emotional dynamics present but suppressed. It’s also an extended experiment in careful improvising, using counterpoint to move quickly and unsentimentally toward the open spaces.

New York Times.

Released May 21, 2013 on Sunnyside Records.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Michael Perez-Cisneros in Brooklyn, New York January 27, 28, February 12, 2013.
Second engineer: Paul Occhialini
Assistant engineer: Simen Solvang
Graphic Design/Photography: Christopher Drukker

Where to buy...

Sunnyside Records
Amazon
iTunes
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