Meridian Odyssey | Earthshine Review
Meridian Odyssey is a jazz ensemble form Big Lake Alaska that is now releasing their latest album, Earthshine. The sextet recorded the album after six days of intense rehearsals of the nine new originals. Trumpeter Noah Halpern joins the core band of saxophonist Santosh Sharma, bassist Ben Feldman, pianist Dylan Hayes, guitarist Martin Budde, and drummer/producer/engineer Xavier Lecouturier. In addition, Ben Lange performs on the mandolin, and Jeff Busch performs on percussion as guest artists on track seven, “Song for Jovino.”
“XD” opens the album with a catchy melody composed by Hayes and Lecouturier. The ensemble has apparent chemistry and respect for each other. The themed rhythmic figure adds to the undercurrent of the relaxed melody as Lecouturier builds each section with dynamics and sticks the feel transitions. Halpern spins out a polished solo, melodic but never overreaching. Feldman’s solo is also in the same vein. The two horns and guitar blend is nice, as Budde has a round tone that matches the saxophone and trumpet.
“Tuesday Wednesday” is an expressive composition by Budde. The melody has interesting colors and turns, and the ensemble performs it with clarity and feeling. The composition has a contemporary vibe and plays well to the ensemble’s strengths. Each member has a firm grasp of their corresponding instrument’s jazz language and technical facility. As their experience grows, so will their ability to create music that stands out from the crowded field.
Earthshine is a strong outing for Meridian Odyssey; the ensemble shows considerable growth from their last project, and the addition of Halpern is a positive. Meridian Odyssey has landed a recording contract with the well-established label Origin Records. Please keep your eyes and ears tuned to these young jazzers as their future sounds very bright.
July 15, 2022