Label: Summit Records
Release date: Sept. 2018Catalog number: 731
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Award-winning jazz pianist and composer Scott Routenberg presents Supermoon, the Scott Routenberg Trio’s second album on Summit Records following 2017’s critically acclaimed Every End is a Beginning. Routenberg is joined once again by Nick Tucker on bass and Cassius Goens III on drums. The dynamic, intense and critically-acclaimed trio has been lauded as “an example of moving forward in jazz music” (Chamber Music America), with Routenberg hailed as a “rising-star jazz pianist…who has found his own voice in the modern mainstream” (JAZZIZ). Supermoon features 10 new original compositions by Routenberg, all inspired by his two young children—enjoy this impressionistic picture of youthful energy, inquisitiveness, love and beauty.
Dr. Scott Routenberg enjoys a versatile and prolific career as an award-winning composer, arranger, jazz pianist and orchestrator. In 2004, Scott was the first jazz songwriter to win the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest Maxell Song of the Year. Other awards and honors include the 2017 International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers SONIC Award for Best Arrangement, 2016 ASCAP Foundation/Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize, the ASCAP David Rose Scholarship, Composer Scholar at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award, and the Downbeat Student Award for Best Extended Length Composition. Routenberg has received multiple commissions as an arranger for the Grammy winning Metropole Orkest under Vince Mendoza, and has had orchestral premieres by the Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, among many others. Dr. Routenberg is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at Ball State University, where he received the 2018-2019 College of Fine Arts Dean’s Creative Endeavor Award for the School of Music. This fall and winter, Dr. Routenberg will serve on the jury of the prestigious American Pianists Association Jazz Piano Competition Premiere Series, where he will help choose the $100,000 Cole Porter Fellowship winner.
“Rising-star pianists bring creativity and individuality to crowded field…” -Scott Yanow for Jazziz
Supermoon, the second outing of the trio led by under-the-radar pianist Scott Routenberg, is the follow up to last year’s Every End Is A Beginning. As happened in the previous CD, the new work released on Summit Records, is exclusively composed of originals and features Nick Tucker on acoustic bass and Cassius Goens III on drums.
Routenberg, who was not averse to genre explorations in an initial phase of his career (Jazztronicus), provides us with a fine collection of jazz songs inspired by his two sons, Julian and Florian.
Opening the program is the title track, which dissipates all types of positive energy. The tune was written for Florian, who was born on the evening of the supermoon, and conveys the liveliness of a child in the form of a colorful rock-based song with boiling drum fills, grooving bass lines, as well as a burning piano ride.
Things start graciously feathery on “Everything Is Alive”. Still, the rhythmic and harmonic textures stiffen up for Routenberg’s eloquent solo, eventually returning to the initial quasi-classical docility.
Florian’s obsession with trains is illustrated on “Locomotivity”, an uptempo burner in six with a subtle Latin feel and boppish motifs to be enjoyed. This one was co-written by Routenberg and his wife Sofia Kraevska.
Both “Quiet Times”, a melodious reflection requiring cohesive interplay, and the closing “Little Song”, a tranquil ballad in which the trio finds room to breathe, have soft, warm-hearted natures, in opposition to the playful “Bebop Baby”, whose swinging verve is pelted with Bird-inspired lines and a rhythmic bounce similar to Benny Green. Tucker also enchants while discoursing in sympathy with Gershwin’s classic rhythm changes.
Supermoon is a product of Routenberg’s parental and musical inspirations, but also a work of unified expression from a charismatic trio that shows enough attributes to provide us with substantial moments of gratification.