You can call Nick Rosen's debut, Into the Sky, a jazz album if you want, but while not inaccurate, that term doesn't really tell the whole story. This is no post-bop chops-fest, but rather an album of fully realized compositions making use of a jazz-centric format. One might even be tempted to dub some musical moments "post-rock" in the chamber music vein of bands like Rachel's, if not for the troublesome fact that there are really no rock elements present. Best then to leave the tricky task of categorization aside and simply absorb the fruits of Rosen's labors on their own terms. The young composer concentrates on acoustic and electric bass on Into the Sky, but also sings and plays keyboards and guitar. As a sideman he's worked with everyone from free jazz hero Henry Grimes to neo-soul star Macy Gray, which should give you some idea of his stylistic breadth. Indeed, strewn among the orchestral jazz textures of instrumental tunes like "Ancestral Echoes" and "Manya" you'll find the acoustic guitar-based neo-folk ballad "Mindy's Song," with guest vocals from art folk troubadour Mia Doi Todd; "African Sun," an atmospheric composition screaming out for a film soundtrack placement; and the pastoral folk-pop ditty "Winter into Spring." Trace elements of everything from Mingus to Milhaud can be found on Into the Sky if you listen closely, but it won't take too intensive an examination to begin unpeeling the satisfying skein of textures, tones, and tunes the eclectic Rosen has assembled here.
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AllMusic Review by James Allen