Adam Schneit: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Sean Moran: guitar; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drums.
Based in Brooklyn since 2005, Adam Schneit is a saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer whose musical past is directly related with the eclectic jazz quartet Old Time Musketry, as he once was its co-leader and an influent composer. After two albums released and several years of performances, the band’s life cycle reached an end, but Schneit didn’t waste time and immediately started working out on his career as a leader. His debut feature album, Light Shines In, is now available on Fresh Sound New Talent label.
Schneit picked excellent partners to be part of his cohesive quartet. If guitarist Sean Moran has been trying to gain prominence through his interesting ensemble Small Elephant Band and a chamber jazz quartet called Four Bags, Eivind Opsvik and Kenny Wollesen are two experienced heavyweights who, more than rhythmic stability, guarantee inventiveness and superior dynamics from below.
And that’s exactly what they do in “Different Times”, a steamy ride electrified by Moran’s guitar groans. The transition from Moran’s solo to Shneit’s fits hand in glove, with the saxophonist catching the guitarist’s last phrase on a rousing moment and giving it a lucid sequence.
Prior to this tune, we had the unhurried “A Clearer View”, which dabbles in the colorful meadows of pop music and blurs the line of genre by adding pinches of jazz and folk-rock. Despite distorted, the guitar chords of Moran are perfectly contextualized with the soft-textured foundation deftly conjured by Opsvik and Wollesen. The trio created the ideal conditions for the bandleader to exhibit his articulated language and blatant relationship with melody.
Titled with the name of his former band, “Old Time Musketry” clasps an entrancing 7/8-metered groove and features solos by Schneit, who spontaneously assimilates bop passages in his swift phrasing, and Moran who opts for a more cerebral approach.
With “Hope for Something More” and the title track, the quartet embraces a conciliatory relaxation, allowing us to imagine contemplative landscapes. The former’s melody sticks in our minds due to its beauty, and not even the torrent of notes that fly from the bandleader’s clarinet removes its affectionate temper.
The pace and intensity are raised again in “My Secret Hobby”, a tune that encourages musical freedom and boundless creativity, in a sort of Tim Berne-meets-Marc Ribot experience.
The final track, “Song for Silence”, feels like a tastefully jazzified pop/rock ballad that oozes integrity and gravitas. Even wrapped in slightly dark tones, the light is still there.
Light Shines In is an auspicious debut whose content conveys an immense musicality.
My empathy for this quartet increases with the number of listenings, telling me that Adam Schneit, whose compositions go beyond the traditional jazz scope, is here to stay.
Label: Fresh Sound New Talent, 2017
02 – Different Times ► 04 – Hope for Something More ► 06 – My Secret Hobby