Beginning with a lulling quasi-classical feel and a title in 'Preludio' to match, pianist Julian Shore finds himself in reflective mood on Where We Started.
The title draws on a line of poetry by T. S. Eliot and with Shore his collaborators on the record are a fine collection of leading players: Dayna Stephens, Caroline Davis, Ben Monder, Edward Perez, Colin Stranahan and fleetingly, actually on the title track itself, Oded Tzur.
That classical sense gives way a little as the album progesses and moves towards that new territory we hear so much on contemporary jazz records, a sense of composition that keeps its options open and avoids being overly constrained by any one tradition. One thing it's not is a blood and guts full throttle dash in some sort of competitive duel.
Shore possesses something of a Romantic touch to his flowing improvisations and I would say that this is an introvert's record rather than an extrovert's.
In terms of the process of his gaining wider recognition Where We Started certainly accelerates that direction. It's an excellent record. Highlights include the mystical charm of the band's interpretation of the Gesualdo madrigal 'O Vos Omnes' and the absorbing interpretation of Gil Evans’ arrangement of Gershwin’s 'Oh Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess' are certainly high among them and Monder's role is important as is the way the album pivots between piano, saxophone and guitar for its essential centre of gravity. As a whole it works as a kind of meditation and conveys its own faraway atmosphere highly effectively.
Out now on Tongue Rogue Records.