Milo Petersen and the Jazz Disciples
"This CD is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who first took jazz music around the world. While facing adversity at home, they were often regarded as visiting dignitaries abroad." So says Milo Petersen, drummer/ guitarist, composer and leader of this group of "Jazz Disciples". Milo and his fellow musicians are disciples in the sense of being followers of those pioneers whose lessons are the very foundations of jazz. This quintet is a collection of highly accomplished musicians and leaders in their own right who have worked separately and together in various combinations for years. You may notice a musical language that is not unlike that of Miles Davis' last acoustic quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. That quintet was one of the major forces in jazz at a time when this group of players were beginning their careers.
Most of Milo Petersen's compositions featured here draw their inspiration from people he's known. Blue Steele is for Gary Steele, the bass player and saxophonist who, with his wife Patti Summers, owns and operates a cozy bistro in Seattle's Pike Place Market which has been home to many sessions. Gary has long been one of Milo's musical mentors and best friends.
The Good was completed for a childhood friend's wedding and was inspired by the spiritual writings of the Katha Upanishad. Certain Thoughts, composed in New York in Winter, is a sort of "psychological thriller" inspired by the music of Wayne Shorter. Throwing Roses was inspired by musical guru Jerome Gray, a distinguished composer, pianist and musical theorist who used the phrase to stress melodic simplicity and giving through music.
Seiji and Hiroshi is for a couple of Japanese-American brothers who as community activists constantly balanced their Japanese heritage with their American experience. The bass and drums introduce the brothers, the following "A" section represents their heritage, and the swinging bridge their American experience. Una Pina de Yayo was named for a Cuban restaurant in Brooklyn run by Senor Yayo. There was always a big jar of pineapple juice on the counter, and this image is part of Milo's memories of the community and the music which typified the neighborhood in which he lived in the late 80's.
Visiting Dignitaries is for those jazz pioneers whose music was received with great fanfare by a broad and appreciative audience around the world. The African feel of the opening metamorphoses into swing, reflecting jazz' origins and development. Prayer is a meditative piece built from a drone on a narrow band of chords which creates the first melody, with another developing over its top.
Tony is for Tony Williams, one of the most influential modern drummers since the 60's when he emerged as a member of the Miles Davis group. This particular piece was composed immediately after hearing the Tony Williams Quintet at the Vanguard. Milo says he went home and couldn't sleep until he wrote this music. Closing the CD as it began, with a blues, John Cleanness Other Blues is Milo's acknowledgment of one of his main jazz heroes and biggest influence.
At a time when a lot of emphasis is placed on blends and fusions of dissimilar kinds of music, it's great to hear some inspired unhyphenated original jazz. Thanks, Milo, you got your ears on straight!
Jim Wilke — Jazz After Hours, Public Radio International
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