Since the nineties, the drummer and bandleader Jim Black has been one of the most influential figures of progressive jazz. On his Intakt Records debut, Jim Black plays with the acclaimed young pianist Elias Stemeseder and highly in-demand New York bass player Thomas Morgan contemporary jazz with distinctive arrangements, complex rhythms and expressive improvisations.
Hank Shteamer writes in the linernotes: "The Constant, a suitelike collection of 10 new pieces, is a meditation on song – a celebration of plain-spoken melody but also an interrogation of the fragility of musical order. The Constant is a narrative of competing currents. On one hand, there is melody, most prominently a wistful, winding line that appears in opening track “High” and reoccurs throughout the album. As “High” begins, we hear Morgan dreamily plucking out this theme. The drummer, using brushes, adds whispering free-time textures, while the pianist makes his own way toward the motif. But there is also a gentle turbulence at work – a sense of the elusiveness and instability of song."
Jim Black: Drums, Composition
Elias Stemeseder: Piano
Thomas Morgan: Bass
All compositions by Jim Black – Strufa Music (BMI), except "Bill" by Jerome Kern/PG Wodehouse. Session produced, recorded and mixed by Amandine Pras at Water Music, NJ on December 9, 10, 11, 2015. Gabriel Bento, chief studio engineer, Rob Grenoble, studio owner, Christian Pelaez, studio intern & Josh Gomersall, studio intern. Mastered by Alan Silverman, Arf! Productions. Liner notes: Hank Shteamer. Photos: Roberto Cifarelli. Cover art: Heike Liss / Jonas Schoder. Graphic design: Jonas Schoder. Executive producer: Florian Keller. CD produced by Intakt Records, Patrik Landolt.
It's almost hard to believe there's any space for Tim to fit in when they play this stuff as a duo! The magical uber-complex counterpoint flowing from and resolving to the killer tunes has a similar feel to the full band Berne but these are clarifying in their complexity - you can understand all the moving parts on the same level. Also perhaps the best showcase of Mr Mitchell's solo skills I've heard - he's fully in his element! Giles
I really appreciate that with such a large group of musicians the overall sound and experience of listening is really spacious, never cluttered. The lovely recording helps that a lot, and of course the compositional aspects that make it breathe are superb- it gets more and more fun as I listen again and again. Jasper Skydecker