Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jason And The Labor Of Love

     I hope that regular readers of this site will allow me the diversion from the political on this one post so that I may indulge my first love, music. I recently ordered and received a CD of 9 instrumental songs that is representative of musical styling from the worlds of jazz, soul, blues and even some Latin. The music is brilliantly performed by Jason Green and his band, called, "The Labor Of Love." If you don't know who Jason Green is, don't feel bad, he is one of the most gifted guitarists of whom you have probably never heard. I have included a link to his website at the end of this post, and I recommend anyone who has an interest in good music to buy this CD. If after listening you are dissatisfied, I promise to buy the CD from you. That is how confident I am that you will feel the price, thirteen dollars and some change, is well worth the price of admission to this musical roller coaster thrill ride.
     I met Jason in the late 1990s through a mutual friend, and quickly developed not only an immense appreciation of his talent, but a deep and abiding admiration for his gentle confidence that never even got close to arrogance. For a time I actually took lessons from Jason, and was again amazed at his ability to instruct in a manner which lent itself to learning the instrument, something uncommon in some people who are gifted musicians. You see, Jason plays not only so that he is heard, but so that people will support live music of every stripe. That's why this CD is so special, it is recorded live in the studio, with all the musicians playing together as if they were sitting in your living room. That love of the music and of playing together drips off of every note of this CD.
     The CD has as its bookends two traditional Jazz pieces, "Ed's Place" in the opening and "Invitation" as the closing number. In between these two bookends is a smorgasborg of musical flavor unrivalled by anything I have heard in a long time, if ever. The Labor Of Love's rhythm section is comprised of bassist Yanko Valdes and drummer Tom Papadatos. Additional texture is provided by saxophonist, Rob Chaseman. The three extraordinarily gifted musicians weave their larger than life talents with that of Jason Green's unstoppable guitar to take the listener on a magical journey through songs with Latin themes like  "Fiesta del Cuatro" and "El Amor es Verde", soulful selections like "Union Square Soul" and down and dirty blues like "17 Slide."
     "Fiesta del Cuatro", "El Amor es Verde", "17 Slide" and "Union Square Soul" are all original compositions by Jason Green, the other 5 songs are standards that he has arranged to round out this musical extravaganza. Listening to Jason's original compositions makes one realize that his talent and understanding of music goes beyond playing guitar. But the guitar, is of course, front and center in these musical numbers, even when he is masterfully backing his fellow musicians with rhythm chords. His quick hand, seamless transitions and smooth as butter use of chord scales, are reminiscent of the great Django Reinhardt, considered one of the greatest jazz guitarist ever. And Jason's slide work on 17 Slide is 84 bars of some of the best slide guitar I have ever heard (with all due respect to Dwayne Allman).
     The CDs final song is "Invitation", which one might think would be more appropriate in the opening slot. But it is fitting as a closer because Jason is inviting the listener to make live music a part of their lives. Whether it is live CDs like this juggernaut of jazz, or going to a club, Jason wants the listener to know that musicians combining their talents and creating a live musical experience to be appreciated by more than just the ears, is truly for him and his band, a Labor Of Love.
Click Here For Jason Green's Website

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