Don’t Jay Walk by Jay-Tee –
reviewed by Chris Mann
Composer and bassist Jay-Tee Teterissa draws from the jazz
fusion tradition, while at the same time being fully aware of
the current state of affairs in this music. His list of
musical collaborators includes Mike Stern, Danny Gottlieb,
David Garibaldi, Tony Royster Jr, Alain Caron, Jan Akkerman
and Candy Dulfer.
He brings his band Jazzm to create this, his second solo
I love the energy on ‘Gravity Hill Bounce’. It’s an
instrumental which almost immediately goes into a thumbed (not
slapped) bass solo. The fretless sound and doubled alto sax
line will please Yellowjackets fans and the funky off-the-beat
playing will delight fans of Joe Hubbard/Hubbard’s Cubbard.
It’s a very high-tech yet soulful sound. It’s the essence of
funky fusion – very Herbie Hancock! Nice – what a great start!
‘Bottom Road’ has an altogether less sunny vibe with waves of
dark synthesizer, but it roars off led by Mike Stern’s guitar
solo and I’m reminded of the Headhunters old ‘Descending
Azzizziuh’. This is nuts! More please!
Mike Stern features on the equally dramatic ‘Sticktown’.
Again, I’m not about to pigeonhole this track because it opens
out into a lovely synthesizer solo, underpinned by some deft
snarework. Stern’s own solo is underpinned in its turn by some
gorgeous barely-contained funk on the bass. What a sound
Jay-Tee gets. There’s some very lyrical bass playing on
‘Wolf’s Woods’ with the guitar sounding much like Casiopea’s
Issei Noro (so, good) and a lovely beaten-up Rhodes sound
playing the changes. This is a song I know I’ll enjoy more the
more I listen.
‘Silence, Piano and Bass’ lets you breathe because it is as
simple a performance as it promises to be. Its beauty is that
it’s not jazz, classical or progressive rock – though it’s a
little of all those things. Timeless. I love music with a
cinematic feel and ‘Train of Thought’ has that. The production
is incredible, with a barely-plucked bass, bass trombone (?),
gentle semi acoustic guitar and whispers of percussion seeming
to float in space (that’s apparent using headphones, at
least). It’s relaxing but breathtaking all at once. Here’s my
summary: it’s the sound of James Bond falling asleep.
Percussion opens ‘Morning Traffic’ and as the intensity
builds, the soprano sax states the theme clearly.
Yellowjackets fans jump on board. Lovers of harmonics on bass,
prepare yourselves. As with the previous song, I’m more drawn
into a soundscape than into any specific melodic or rhythmic
strand. This is hypnotic stuff but, like the rush hour, it
slows to a halt and you can heave a sigh. ‘Magnolia’s
Vineyard’ is a lovely cinematic piece where the bass takes the
melody, which the soprano sax picks up. All the while, almost
mystical percussion keeps time. Dreamy doesn’t mean dull –
certainly it doesn’t here.
Sounding like a lost part of the Apocalypse Now soundtrack,
the grand intro to ‘Black Ships at Sea’ keeps us guessing with
sounds of Australia, sounds of China, sounds of Hollywood. The
central bass figure could almost be from a Celtic folk song.
You might think I’m crazy – I probably am nuts to try
describing music as imaginative as this. ‘Mount Gerald Summit’
starts of in a similarly eerie vein until the bass announces
its presence and bounces from slap riff to solo and back
effortlessly. There’s a tense fretless bass solo to hammer
home the point (if you had forgotten) that in the right hands,
the electric bass really can say anything. A warm alto sax
picks up the few things that the bass leaves unsaid. The
closer ‘Camp Adderstone’ opens with the kind of funk bass I
could – and sometimes try to – listen to all day. Sax takes
the melody and leads the changes too. It’s (dare I say it) the
most conventionally funky jazz tune on the album. That is
until two minutes in, when it gets funky in a Herbie Hancock
way – great keys, drums that fly along and pace that will
leave you breathless. Five minutes in and you’re in deep
chillout mode – and loving that too! That lovely electric
piano remains centre stage but the mood has completely
changed. Weird, listen to this on headphones and the cymbals
sound like they’re behind you. Some of these songs have an
almost 3D sound.
Ahh, I know I’ve mentioned other artists during this review.
The music is so creative that I’d find it hard to tell you
about it if I had no reference points. The simple fact is that
writing this has pushed my own ability to appreciate and to
express that appreciation. I’ve enjoyed the challenge - this
is a masterwork by a composer/player/producer with a vision.
Thank God that in these cautious times such daring music is
still being created.
Musictech/Jay-Tee Teterissa – Producer Jeroen
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