Exposé Online banner

Jason Robinson — The Two Faces of Janus
(Cuneiform Rune 311, 2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-08-22

The Two Faces of Janus Cover artOver the last few decades, the main stream jazz has stagnated, become so codified that real creativity is virtually ruled out. It's hard to imagine Charles Mingus or Miles Davis fitting in with what passes for jazz these days, and rebels like Ornette Coleman or George Russell are right out — though to be sure, much of the more rebellious jazz was always a fringe proposition. Saxophonist Jason Robinson steers more towards that fringe than the mainstream — the average Wynton Marsalis fan would probably run fearfully from the room if this band took the stage. Some of the standard elements of jazz are present (swinging grooves, heads and solos, and so on), but they're mixed up with some elements from free jazz and avant-garde that don't fit comfortably in a cocktail lounge. Guitarist Liberty Ellman is one source of interest here, with his straddling between classic jazz sounds and more adventurous explorations. The sax players also venture outside the smoother reaches of their instruments. This is music that can kick your butt even without a wall of amplified instruments. The players walk the line between free expression and coordinating with each other in an inspiring way. Energy levels range from sparse and moody to wild and thrashing. It's really a testament to the players' skill and taste that you can have three saxes improvising at the same time, and it doesn't sound like total chaos — just partial chaos of an enjoyable kind. It's an outstanding effort all around. Kudos to all involved: sax players Jason Robinson, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Marty Ellman; and the rhythm section of guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer George Schuller.

Filed under: New releases, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Jason Robinson, Liberty Ellman

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Green Milk from the Planet Orange - He's Crying "Look" & City Calls Revolution – This Japanese trio really does seem to hail from another planet. While there are echoes of psychedelic German jams from the 70s and alternative noise acts of the 80s, the mixture is thoroughly unique....  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues