Michael Waldrop: Time Frames

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Drummer, percussionist and composer Michael Waldrop has released a fantastic album featuring the marimba called ‘Time Frames’. The 15 songs, most of them originals by Michael Waldrop, present a wide spectrum of styles and sounds, from the origin of the marimba as an African instrument to eclectic contemporary compositions.
Waldrop surrounds himself on the album with other renowned and musically diverse percussionists like Gordon Stout, Brad Dutz, Jose Rossy and Marko Djordjevic.

Here comes the full list of musicians and their instruments:

  • Michael Waldrop – marimba, vibraphone, drum set and keyboard sequencing
  • Jose Rossy – Djembe, Djun Djuns, Shekere and miscellaneous percussion
  • Brad Dutz – bongos, congas, doumbek, riq, percussion
  • Steve Snyder – piano
  • Alex Pershounin – acoustic bass
  • Sam Shoup – acoustic bass
  • Ivana Cojbasic – acoustic piano
  • Marko Djordjevic – drum set
  • Gordon Stout – marimba

The album starts with ‘Fractals’, a songs that has a nice steady moving groove. ‘Dem Dakar’ continues in that contemplative style with a slower middle part before it picks up moving again. Both songs are harmonically supported by long notes added via keyboard sequencing.

The suite ‘Three Mediterranean Views’ composed by Jack Cooper comes next.  Sound and style are more like a jazz combo with Michael Waldrop on marimba and vibraphone supported by piano, bass and various percussion.

‘Almost Beyond’ by vibraphonist and composer Nathan Daughtrey comes next. This fantastic song features Ivana Cojbasic on piano and Michael Waldorp on marimba.

‘Delineations’ returns to the African side of the marimba as we heard it in the first two songs. Definitely my favorite style on this album and so this songs impresses me with it’s nice moving groove.

‘Katrina’s Path’ is the second suite here on the album. The three songs feature Michael Waldrop on drums culminating in ‘Katrina’s Path: New Orleans’ with Marko Djordjevic on a second drum set.

‘Hollow’ is a composition for solo marimba by US-composer Jonathan Middleton, sometimes soft, sometimes harsh, this tune is full of different elements and sounds.

The next song ‘Sixth Chakra’ is definitely my favorite song on the album and the following video was the reason this album caught my attention. Michael Waldrop performs this song with six mallets:

‘Incoming’ is the next tune and it features Gordon Stout on marimba and Michael Waldrop on drums. The composition starts openly before it turns into a fantastic dialog between these two instruments, great composition and fantastic performance, with the marimba setting the pace. After an incredible drums solos both instruments return to the open theme from the beginning that is based on a chromatic movement.

‘Tortoise Efficiency’ features Brad Dutz on percussion, a tune without harmonic elements but with excellent drums and percussion sounds.

The album ends with ‘Continuity’, a song that has a similar groove like ‘Dem Dakar’ from the beginning of the album and so the circle closes with another excellent meditative tune.

‘Time Frame’ is not a typical jazz album, but it fits well into the context of groove, rhythmic elements from different sources and composed and arranged music, and it is performed with excellent musicians on an incredible high technical level. Congratulations to Michael Waldrop and the musicians on this album for this great piece of art. Please enjoy listening.

More information on Michael Waldrop and his music is found on his website:
https://michaelwaldrop.net/

The complete album is available on Spotify:

Tom Ollendorff: A Song For You

A Song For You

UK guitarist Tom Ollendorff has released a fantastic debut album on the Spanish jazz label ‘Fresh Sound New Talent’. Tom is accompanied by Conor Chaplin on bass and Marc Michel on drums. The trio has been playing together for several years and as Tom points out: “The trio developed it’s own sound and character”.

 

A significant part of this individual character comes from Toms guitar playing style, a combination of plectrum and picking which creates a full and dense sound.

The album starts with the title song ‘A Song For You’, an original from Tom with a beautiful melody that modulates between major and minor. First solo goes to Conor Chaplin on bass before we get the chance to listen to the first guitar solo. Every note is played crystal clear, the trio plays quite open but always in time and with nice dynamics, the sound is fresh and transparent and it is great pleasure to listen to this song.

‘Spring’ continues in this way, a feast of beautiful harmonies and melodic ideas with a sophisticated bass and drum accompaniment.

‘Etude 1′ is a nice little guitar solo piece which demonstrates Tom’s outstanding technique. Tom Ollendorff has published a transcription of this song on his website and the following video on youtube:

 

‘Not In These Days’ and ‘XY’ are the two extended tunes on the album, both originals from Tom, the first one impresses with the freedom drummer Marc Michel takes, the second a medium-up jazz tune shows the ‘classic’ jazz skills of Tom Ollendorff and his trio.

‘Autumn in New York’ is the only jazz standard on this album and Tom uses this tune for great chord melodies.

The album continues with ‘Aare’ named after the river that flows through Bern which is famous for being one of the longest open air swimming ‘pools’ in Switzerland. Again, a beautiful and atmospheric song featuring Marc Michel with an excellent drums solo.

The trio presents a second etude with ‘Etude 3′ this time with a simple bass and sophisticated drums focusing on cymbals.

The album ends with ‘These Days (Outro)’ a little light and airy tune that fades away in harmony and elegance.

I might repeat myself, but I like this album very much. Tom Ollendorff is a great guitarist with a distinct sound and style, the interaction in this trio is fantastic and very precise, the compositions are beautiful and the sound is clear and atmospheric. Please enjoy.

More information on tour dates are found on Tom Ollendorff’s website:

https://www.tomollendorff.com/

And finally a playlist of the album on Spotify: