Jason Ajemian is a stand-up bassist/composer from Chicago and has played with Chicago Underground Trio, Mandarin Movie, Scott Tuma, Exploding Star Orchestra. Here, with the help of Tim Haldeman on sax and drummer Nori Tanaka, he uses the trio format to offer a set of straight bop with odd interludes. ?The Art of Dying? is a mix of improv/avant-garde & trad jazz that is impressive in its chops and intentions.
The odd interludes are most apparent in ?The,? ?Art,? ?Of,? and ?Dying,? each a simple, ten second horn line, a quote to serve as a binding for the sauce.
Of the straight-on bop tunes, there is still a spirit of mischief amid the homage to that ever-relevant style.? 9 car,? ?Machine Gun Operator? and ?Solar Guided Lovehandles? all feature Ajemian?s crisp but lyrical playing, within the rhythm section with Tanaka, taking turns driving and extending the melody. Haldeman proves steady and sweet on sax, his solos also a perfect blend of the traditional and daring.
?The Art of Dying? is a solid, inventive set of tunes by a trio that knows its way in and out of the deep soul of jazz. This is music of the heart played by a trio that has the serious chops to translate that passion to the rest of us. This is an essential, hardcore release. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (18 June, 2008)