I am not much of a music geek. I really like a wide variety of music. I know what I like, and what I don’t.
The Zach Nielsen Trio’s new jazz record, “Songs in a Minor Key” is one I liked almost immediately. It is a great album for relaxing and having a glass of wine to, or while pounding out a paper for a class, like was my case last week.
The music is smooth, eclectic and very well done. The creativity put into this album is evident from the first to the last song.
Here is a description of the album in Z’s own words:
I am pleased to announce my first official jazz release. It’s a five song EP called “Songs in a Minor Key”. This recording took place this past spring in Albuquerque, NM with some of the best musicians the city has to offer. It is far from perfect (what jazz recording is?) but I think you’ll find some rich moments throughout that will peek your interest and engage your ear.
Recording jazz is a very different process than my pop/rock recording experience in the past. In jazz, all the musicians play together and we do a few takes and simply choose the best one of three or fours takes. With a rock recording you usually analyze every square inch of the recording and slave over all the minutiae. Not so with jazz. We attempt to capture a performance that is rich with energy and life but perfection is not the goal. Communication, interaction, and artistic expression are the goals and I think those goals were met in these short recording sessions.
For some, jazz is esoteric and obtuse. To the unacclimated, it can sound like random noise that is challenging to listen to for extended periods of time. For that reason I recorded a couple songs that most people will recognize. The recording kicks off with my arrangement of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” and later on you’ll find The Police’s famous hit, “Message In A Bottle”. In my experience, if people hear a simple melody that they recognize it greatly increases their enjoyment and overall listening experience. I hope that is the case for you as you encounter this recording.
The remaining three tracks are jazz standards from many decades ago. First, “Nardis” is a Miles Davis tune made famous by one of my piano heros, Bill Evans. Second, there is a lesser known Wayne Shorter tune that I learned back in college called, “Black Nile” and finally another jazz standard called, “Beautiful Love”.