Featuring: Josh Berman | Jason Roebke
Juan F. G. Vinuesa - tenor saxophone
Josh Berman - cornet
Jason Roebke - bass
Mikel Patrick Avery - drums and percussion
|1. Ghost Town Studio||7:03|
|2. Red Line Ballad||6:43|
|3. The Alibi||6:25|
|4. La Lola||10:12|
|5. Afro Asiatic Beat Poem||7:04|
|6. In Paul’s Mirror||5:09|
|7. Luther’s Mood||9:13|
|8. I Børneteater||4:59|
Dusty Groove -
The kind of record that makes us very proud to say we're from Chicago – as leader Juan FG Vinuesa comes up with a way to keep the city's avant scene moving forward – using some of the mix of structure and freedom from the Mike Reed generation, but also adding in both older elements, and some occasional moments of improvised freedom! A few passages swing here with a vibe that recalls older "city jazz" projects – but those are balanced by bolder statements from all members of the quartet – a superb lineup that includes Vinuesa on tenor, Josh Berman on cornet, Jason Roebke on bass, and Mikel Patrick Avery on drums and percussion. Berman sounds wonderful here – with occasional exclamatory moments that really grab us.
Martin Schray - Free Jazz Blog
When we discuss albums on this website that feature saxophone, trumpet (or cornet), bass and drums, we often refer to Ornette Coleman's Ornette! Even if this is a commonplace, it makes sense for Blue Shots from Chicago, saxophonist Juan Vinuesa’s fourth album. In contrast to the Blue Cat, an album with the same line-up discussed above, this release rather refers to its great predecessor from 1962. Vinuesa's band includes cornetist Josh Berman, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Mikel Patrick Avery, three musicians at the center of Chicago's vivid jazz scene.
Blue Shots from Chicago isn't as rough as Ornette!, the album is much more accessible, the heads are more melodic and mellow, the improvisations less overbearing. Vinuesa's sax is fierce and excited, and provided with a kind of epiphanic overtones, but then as well cool in the style of Lee Konitz. Roebke's bass is skillful as it is equipped with a tilting, creeping subtlety. Avery is a very reliable swinging drummer, but he can also play freely (e.g. in “In Paul's Mirror“). Josh Berman is the most seductive musician throughout, charmingly he adds short moments that could pass as swinging blues (especially in “Red Line Ballad“). He simply sounds wonderful here – contributing some heartbreaking moments. If you think this sounds cheesy, there are always enough skronks in between to avoid monotony or sentimentality. Tones are preserved, whether fragile or booming, before they are broken off at the edge of shrillness. Blue Shots from Chicago is another impressive record from musicians who know this racket exceptionally well. Of course, it doesn't match the boldness and shock value of Ornette! at the time, but it's not about tearing down old habits, but rather about exploring an already mapped territory in a more detailed way.