American jazz guitarist Jim Robitaille, who constantly collaborates with the label Whaling City Sound, and looks like and does not look like himself, if you compare his last year’s album A View From Within (a review of the disc is on the site) and the current Space Cycles. Similar, because his compositional imagination and soft, somehow cozy sound, which the authors of the press release for the new album compare with the tradition of Legato, coming from Jim Hall, Abercrombie and Schofield, have not gone away. And it doesn’t look like it, because Space Cycles is recorded in a completely different format – a classic trio with a guitar and a rhythm band. In fact, A View From Within also featured the same trio, but with a significant addition: then there was a saxophonist next to Robitaille on the stage, and not just anyone, but Dave Liebman himself. The main plot of that album was based on the interaction of guitar and saxophone. In Space Cycles, Jim Robitaille reigns supreme. Of course, it is tightly and qualitatively supported by the rhythm group (both musicians, bass guitarist Bill Miele and drummer Chris Poudrier, I have not heard before) – the king, as you know, makes a retinue, and in this sense, Jim’s partners are quite on the level.
Of the ten songs on the album, Robitaille wrote seven. Of the three covers of the program, I, as a person who grew up on Beatles music, was particularly pleased with the jazz version of the Lennon and McCartney song Here, There, and Everywhere. But even more interesting to listen to their own compositions Robitaille. Jim played the title song Space Cycles very temperamentally and with a good drive, but, as I think, at heart he is still more of a lyricist. Both the starting Natural Selection, and the elegiac When We Passed, and the strict Nocturne – here the beauty of the sound of the Robitaille instrument in the slow pace of music is revealed with special force. Jim in all the pieces, both his own and arranged, stylistically remains within the framework of post-BOP. Hand on heart, the modern mainstream is not always interesting to listen to. Unfortunately, many young musicians, having mastered jazz technique perfectly at Berklee and other modern schools, do not always know what they really want to say with it. Jim Robitaille well-versed in the categories of “what”, “how” and “why”. This is probably why listening to his music is both interesting and enjoyable.
Review by Leonid Auskern