Jeff Dingler - In Transit

Label/Year: Self-produced, 2017

Lineup – Jeff Dingler: bass; Brad Shepik: guitar; Lou Rainone: piano; Gusten Rudolph: drums; Josh Bailey: percussion.


By fusing New York jazz and stylistic elements of Ethiopian music, bassist Jeff Dingler brings us eight congenial compositions that strongly reflect the satisfaction of discovering new cultures and the homelessness that bites the ones who are living abroad. This is because Dingler lived in Addis Ababa for a year, a city he constantly returns to teach at the Makene Yesus University.

In Transit is his sophomore album of originals and seduces by adding other world influences besides the ones cited above. Here, he leads a quartet with Brad Shepik on guitar, Lou Rainone on piano, and Gusten Rudolph on drums, also counting on Josh Bailey’s percussion on four tracks.

On the torridly thrilled “Bati Celebration”, the bassist interlocks his stylish groove with the percussionists’ brisk African rhythm, establishing the ground where Rainone and Shepik find an ecstatic stimulus to discourse. While the former throws in cascading notes with metrical precision, the latter sounds feverish, interpolating fancy patterns into rapid phrases.

The soft and warm tones of “Orange Clouds”, a soulful ternary effort, are melodically driven by Shepik on the theme, piqued by Rudolph’s brushed cymbals, and enhanced by Dingler’s streamlined bass solo. 

One of the most graceful tracks is “Addis Blues”, a contagious 12-bar song delivered with a 12/8 time signature. Shepik’s afro-oriental touches are held up as an example on the title track, a contemplative anthem with evident spiritual connotations. It features interesting personal proclamations by Rainone, Dingler, and Shepik, all of them effortless panorama colorists.
Diametrically opposed to the ones described above, we have a couple of more traditional swinging tunes: “Merkato Navigation”, designed with the jubilant hard bop lines from the 60s, and the smoother, Wes Montgomery-ish “Tiptoe”, particularly receptive to Shepik’s evocative octave sequences and Rudolph’s thin-skinned brushwork. 

Rhythmically bold, “Sebat” involves both fun and engagement as it follows a crossover jazz reminiscent of George Benson.

This out-of-the-ordinary work from a musician in clear ascension brings supplemental juicy flavors to today’s international jazz recipes.

       Grade  B+

       Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 – Bati Celebration ► 03 - Addis Blues ► 05 - In Transit