Sebastian Weiss

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Momentum Review

by David R. Adler

Following up the previous year's Polaroid Memory, pianist Sebastian Weiss keeps the same rhythm section (bassist Bob Bowen, drummer Dan Weiss) and adds fiery alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. The tunes, again, are all Weiss originals, and while some flirt with a kind of boiling intensity, the music manages to sustain a cool, meditative quality throughout. Zenón appears on the first two offbeat, funky numbers, "No Stop" and "Momentum," then lays out on "Returning for More," which seems more classically influenced and features Bowen up front. Bowen also begins the slowly building "Absence," toward the end of which Zenón sneaks back in. The broken staccato theme of "Misdialed" follows, yielding an unexpected piano/drum breakdown. Mellow swing and bright harmonies inform the trio piece "6 a.m. Elevated," a sort of quiet before the storm of "Currents," a hot Latin-based number that finds Zenón's horn singing forcefully. "Boa Constrictor on 75th Street" gives Weiss another chance to shine in a trio setting; the tune's off-kilter, swinging strains give drummer Dan Weiss a launching pad for an especially provocative solo. The drummer then displays his impressive tabla chops on the finale, "Grow," a lighthearted, short-and-sweet duo with the leader. The recording itself could use more spark, but the flowing rhythms, spacious and advanced harmonic concepts, and strong melodic content all make Sebastian Weiss' music well worth hearing.