There is so much to listen to in each song on the album — every note beautiful — that a listener’s ear gets lost trying to determine which musicians to follow while listening.
Renee Rosnes (piano and musical direction); Ingrid Jensen (trumpet); bassist Noriko Ueda (bass); Allison Miller (drums); Nicole Glover (tenor saxophone); Alexa Tarantino (alto saxophone and flute)
Artemis’s second release, In Real Time, is classic, modern, and beautiful jazz. This album has so many splendid virtuoso moments and interplay that choosing a highlight is arduous. Each musician is more than talented and virtuoso enough to play dazzling solos one after another.
But the solos on this album never stray from the ensemble parts of each song, and the other players well and move along with the solos in the genuine company of celebrated equals. There is so much to listen to in each song on the album — every note beautiful — that a listener’s ear gets lost trying to determine which musicians to follow while listening.
Too often, the title “supergroup” in any musical genre is pure hyperbole, but for Artemis this is not an exaggeration.
Keyboardist and composer Lyle Mays wrote Slink, and his composition has the sound and flow of his pieces with guitarist Pat Metheny. This version has the air and cadence that mark Mays’s compositions, but Artemis translate the song into their comprehensive and sophisticated approach without sacrificing the beauty of the original.
A bass and piano dual lead intro and Miller’s world-inspired drums lead to a waterfall of piano, trumpet, and flute cascades. The horns and reeds combine to sound like the three are their own singular instrument.
Timber is a showcase for the band’s three horn players. Ingrid Jensen’s trumpet leads the way, the band sways, and percolates behind her, and the three horns support each other, building their solos from each other in the act of deep listening. Renee Rosiness Rhodes piano adds a sparkle to the drive of the horns. The song keeps twisting and evolving from its main head, and our ears don’t want it to end.
Alexa Tarantino’s composition Whirlwind’s melody is subtly beautiful, with all the instruments gracefully moving across the changing river painted by Tarantino’s flute. From there, Nicole Glover’s saxophone runs and paints a frenetic picture before Rosnes’s piano returns us to the gentle flow initially offered by the flute. Noriko Ueda takes a beautifully melodic solo that her bass parts hint at as they color around the lead instruments.
Renee Rosnes originally recorded Empress Afternoon on her Life on Earth album. And while the song is dynamic in either of its incarnations, Artemis places its sonic mark on it and makes it completely their own. Dizzying speed and rhythm open the song, and every note is a celebration, dancing and cascading into the next.
Rosnes’ piano is equally sophisticated and raucous, and the instruments chase each other across this Empress Afternoon feast. Each instrument dances on a melodic cliff edge and demands the listener follow as Allison Miller rolls her musical force of nature drumming to propel the entire song. Her drum solo towards the end is as lyrical as any other instrument.
Stately, melancholy, and inward-looking, Artemis plays Wayne Shorter’s Penelope with a crisp sensitivity. Saxophone with Rosnes piano creates just the right undercurrent of motion. The drums work dramatically. Saxophones weave in and out of each other like accent lights on the main melody.
Tenor first, then Tarantino’s lyrical alto sax makes the song’s main statements, slowly building to a crescendo and then dancing back down its scale to touch all the colors of the music. Ueda’s bass Is spare and connects their rhythmic harmonies to give the piece a softly structured edge. Jazz masters performing the work of a Jazz master. As Renee Rosnes explains, “Wayne’s melodies sound inevitable.
There’s an emotional weight to every melodic and harmonic choice,” she says. “We all look to him as a guiding light and courageous creator.”
“Music exists in time. Without time, there is no music,” explains pianist, composer, and bandleader Renee Rosnes about In Real Time, the sophomore album from ARTEMIS. “Photographs and works of visual art are frozen in time. Music is liquid time in air.”
In listening to In Real Time, one has the feeling of moving through that liquid time, captivated by these performances. Featuring enough textures and styles played with sophistication and a commitment to listening to each other, In Real Time is a generous treat for any jazz fan.