Jae Sinnett’s Zero To 60 Quartet : Commitment Review
Jazz, Redefined: Navigating Commitment with Jae Sinnett
Hey there, jazz fans. Got a new spin for you, and it’s a real treat – Jae Sinnett’s latest offering, Commitment. Now, we all know Jae Sinnett is a master of rhythm, but this album goes beyond. It’s not just about the beats; it’s about the journey, the story he’s telling with every rhythm, every pause.
Sinnett’s known for his impeccable timing on the drum set – and let me tell you, it’s the heartbeat of this album. From the first track to the last, you can feel the pulse, the life in his drumming. It’s a beat that makes your foot tap, your head nod, the kind of rhythm that gets under your skin and stays there.
And the Zero To 60 Quartet? Steve Wilson on the sax, Allen Farnham on piano, Terry Burrell on the bass, and, of course, Sinnett on the drums – they harmonize flawlessly. It feels as though every instrument is engrossed in a rich dialogue, each bringing its unique voice, coming together to form a seamless symphony. Just when you think it’s reached its pinnacle, the jazz legend Randy Brecker steps in with his trumpet and flugelhorn, lending a depth with his raw-yet-sensitive tone, a blend of power and nuance.
But the album’s allure doesn’t end with rhythm and ensemble. It’s in Sinnett’s knack for reimagining familiar tunes, in the stories he weaves with his compositions. Every track, be it a fresh interpretation or an original, carries that unmistakable Sinnett flair. This isn’t just jazz; it’s the Sinnett way of redefining the genre. And with this album, the ‘Sinnett IS in Session.’
Commitment by Jae Sinnett is a mosaic of jazz tunes and innovative originals. The album kicks off with Sinnett’s “Takin It There,” a vibrant prelude to the musical spectacle that follows. Farnham’s offerings, “Wait For Me” and “Be It As It May,” resonate with rich melodies, echoing the quintet’s deft touch. Classics like Claire Fischer’s “Morning” and Frank Foster’s “Simone” get a renewed life, with Sinnett’s unique touch accentuating their inherent brilliance. The rendition of “Skylark” stands out, with Brecker’s emotive performance capturing the song’s timeless allure.
“Guise,” another testament to Sinnett’s compositional skill, exemplifies the sheer unpredictability and expansive creativity intrinsic to jazz. The emotive rendition of Benard Ighner’s “Everything Must Change” strikes a chord, reminding us of music’s transformative aura. The album concludes with the Jobim gem, “No More Blues (Chega De Saudade).” Here, Sinnett’s arrangement gives it a novel twist, intertwining funky rhythms with Latin vibes, as if the piece was always meant to be heard this way.
“Takin It There” bursts forth as a remarkable swing opener, meticulously crafted by Sinnett. From the get-go, the ensemble blazes with fervor. The up-tempo swing composition’s melody gracefully dances between intense activity and well-placed space. By the conclusion of the head, Sinnett’s distinct drumming ability is already palpable.
Steve Wilson steps up for the initial solo, and as he does, Sinnett’s drumming takes on an engaging life of its own. It’s vigorous, propelling the pulse forward without ever becoming overeager. Their duet, Wilson’s sax and Sinnett’s drums, is a celebration in musical conversation. Sinnett doesn’t just play alongside; he dialogues with Wilson, reacting to each melodic twist and turn. His cymbal flourishes and polyrhythmic beats fit snugly in the pocket, embodying the track’s rhythmic heartbeat.
As Allen Farnham takes the reins, Terry Burrell’s rich acoustic bass harmonizes with Sinnett’s impeccable timekeeping, creating a bedrock for Farnham’s Tyner-esque solo. There’s a distinct Tony Williams undertone in Sinnett’s drumming that, when paired with Farnham’s keys, makes for a swing that’s as relentless in momentum as it is drenched in emotion. Indeed, “Takin It There” isn’t just a track; it’s a jubilant homage to the essence of jazz from the sixties with the colors of today’s jazz vocabulary. It’s an obvious development through the commitment to have a rooting in a tradition, while developing a style that grows to be your own voice and energy of expression. It’s impossible to resist a grin when you’re enveloped by this enthralling musical festivity.
“Muhammara’s Dance” demands attention, not because it outshines the rest – every track on this album shines brightly – but because of its intriguingly different essence. Sinnett’s foray into the rich world of fusion is evident here, weaving a complex tapestry of jazz, rock, and funk. The driving force of this mosaic? Sinnett’s energized drumming, pulsating with the might of all three genres, yet is delicate in its detail.
As Farnham embarks on his solo, Sinnett’s cymbal work shines through, producing a cascade of hues that adds depth to the keys. The crescendo of Farnham’s solo is beautifully mirrored by Sinnett’s increasing activity on the kit, creating an enthralling musical parallel.
Then enters Randy Brecker. The ensemble, in a beautiful display of dynamic control, shifts to a half-time feel, laying the groundwork for Brecker’s exploration. But Sinnett’s rhythmic cadence remains unyielding, guiding the ensemble back to the track’s fervent groove and shaping the contours of Brecker’s spectacular solo.
Sinnett’s original composition stands out for its dynamic flow and textured layers. Notably, there are moments where Sinnett’s solo drumming steals the show, offering listeners a raw, unfiltered dive into his improvisational creativity. These solos highlight his innate ability to redefine drumming boundaries, both in the realm of performance and composition. It becomes apparent: Sinnett isn’t just a drummer; he’s a musical philosopher, deeply attuned to rhythm and harmony. This allows his drumming to seamlessly bolster the music, providing an irresistible groove and momentum that delights, whether it’s swing, funk, fusion, or the spaces in between.
In the vast expanse of jazz, where tradition intertwines with innovation, Jae Sinnett’s Commitment emerges as a beacon of artistry. Reflective of his radio show, “Sinnett In Session,” this album is an intelligent representation of America’s indigenous art form – jazz. Commitment is a testament to the enduring power of jazz, blending the old and the new in a seamless and harmonious way.
Jae Sinnett’s Zero To 60 Quartet, alongside Randy Brecker, showcase the kind of balance needed for forward-thinking jazz without losing its historic perspective. Their synergy is impeccable, reminding us that jazz is a living, breathing entity, constantly reshaping itself while honoring its rich history. Commitment culminates not just in the notes played but in the spaces between, in the stories told, and the emotions conveyed. Much like how “Sinnett In Session” stands out as a jazz program of choice in Virginia, Commitment is an invitation to experience jazz as Sinnett envisions it – deeply rooted, wildly innovative, and undeniably soulful.
For those seeking a transformative musical journey that both honors jazz’s storied past and celebrates its vibrant present, Commitment awaits. With Sinnett at its helm, it’s not just jazz; it’s jazz the Sinnett way, and with this album, “Sinnett IS in Session,” as Sinnett consistently proves, whether through his radio show or this latest offering, when he’s in session, jazz is not just heard; it’s deeply felt.
Jae Sinnett’s Zero To 60 Quartet
April 10, 2023