Ian Wardenski | Trust Review
Ian Wardenski is a guitarist, composer, theorist, and educator. Wardenski has built a reputation for his compositions that are developed upon rich harmonic characteristics and an additive approach to melody and rhythm. He is following up his debut album, Collective Thoughts (2019), with his sophomore release, Trust. Trust features the Ian Wardenski Quintet functioning as a chamber group with the freedom, spontaneity, and improvisation of a small jazz combo. Joining Wardenski is Mercedes Beckman – alto saxophone, Jerry Ascione – piano, Amy Shook – bass, Frank Russo – drums, and Tamara Tucker – voice.
“Before Long” begins our journey through Trust. Wardenski’s compositional style is rich in layers, rhythmic textures, clusters, and harmonic twists and turns. Wardenski, Beckman, and Tucker play the melody, a winding, twisting figure that is angular and buzzing with colors. Wardenski has a warmly distorted sound for his guitar solo and his lines attack the harmonic support provided by Shook and Russo. His playing is fluid in nature and has an appealing mix of legato and accented notes. Using Tucker’s voice as a wordless instrumental color adds an organic and engaging element to the melody.
“502” has a cyclical rhythmic theme that Wardenski builds a beautifully haunting melody over. The groove by the ensemble is contagious, even though the rhythmic structures are shifting. The guitarist displays absolute control of the fretboard as he builds his jazz lines beautifully in texturized phrases that match the music with an immense and effortless harmonic clarity.
Wardneski and his quintet have brought us an album of jazz music that expands the genre’s feels and harmonic textures. Trust is filled will Warenski’s original compositions that promote an alliance between traditional jazz, modern jazz, chamber jazz, and groove-based jazz. The nine selections exhibit the significance of the composer’s talents as the ensemble performs them with virtuosity and sound development to create a compelling record.
Ian Wardenski Quintet
March 25, 2022