Graham Jesse

In the Flow

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Looking to John Coltrane for inspiration and direction, Australian reed player Graham Jesse's maiden album dwells on the impressionistic side of jazz without becoming mysteriously abstract. He favors the gentle side of Coltrane rather than the avant-garde. Most of the items on the play list have been composed by Jesse with melody in mind, combined with layers of rich harmonics. This philosophy is evident on "Since We Said," where the tenor is full and powerful while at the same time exuding a feeling of mellowness. "rf021273" kicks off with chords lifted almost note for note from Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas," with Jesse's tenor adopting a biting, harsh tone, moving closer to straight-out hard bop. The McCoy Tyner-like piano of Matt McMahon is a dominant factor. Everyone gets a chance to say something. Alan Turnbull gets a lengthy drum break about halfway through, while Adam Armstrong's bass is the adhesive to bind everyone together. "Raw" is similarly generous with the distribution of solo time, except that there is a significant presence by James Muller on guitar and McMahan moves over to the Rhodes piano, giving the tune a funky ambience. The title tune, "In the Flow," is a stream of consciousness expressed by Jesse's flute played over McMahon's Rhodes. This CD might easily be shoved into the smooth jazz category. However, there is an individuality about each of these tunes that distinguishes one from another. Even the soprano sax on "Orange Sunset" avoids that cloying, whiny effect associated with the smooth jazz genre. There is enough good material on this CD for those interested in hearing some excellent original material well played. Recommended.

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