12 Songs, 1 Hour 18 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2015, Canadian saxophonist Ben Wendel undertook a yearlong collaborative series, inviting an array of top-tier jazz colleagues to record duets of original pieces, each one titled for the corresponding month and released as performance videos. The Seasons gathers these 12 duo compositions and reimagines them in quintet form. And the quintet members, appropriately, were all first featured as duo partners: pianist Aaron Parks (“November”), guitarist Gilad Hekselman (“October”), bassist Matt Brewer (“March”), and drummer Eric Harland (“April”). Together as a unit, they fill out the initially sparse encounters with full orchestrations and solo flights, tapping into the drama, complexity, and emotive arc of each piece. There’s adventurous breeziness in “January,” “February,” “June,” and “July”; an angular modern blues structure underlying “May”; and a stormy, out-of-tempo abstraction that surrounds “December.” Wendel plays tenor through effects to add long echoes and eerie tones, altering the music’s color. Hekselman responds with melodic elegance but also a good amount of snarl and bite.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2015, Canadian saxophonist Ben Wendel undertook a yearlong collaborative series, inviting an array of top-tier jazz colleagues to record duets of original pieces, each one titled for the corresponding month and released as performance videos. The Seasons gathers these 12 duo compositions and reimagines them in quintet form. And the quintet members, appropriately, were all first featured as duo partners: pianist Aaron Parks (“November”), guitarist Gilad Hekselman (“October”), bassist Matt Brewer (“March”), and drummer Eric Harland (“April”). Together as a unit, they fill out the initially sparse encounters with full orchestrations and solo flights, tapping into the drama, complexity, and emotive arc of each piece. There’s adventurous breeziness in “January,” “February,” “June,” and “July”; an angular modern blues structure underlying “May”; and a stormy, out-of-tempo abstraction that surrounds “December.” Wendel plays tenor through effects to add long echoes and eerie tones, altering the music’s color. Hekselman responds with melodic elegance but also a good amount of snarl and bite.

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