Ajemian, Jason - Protest Heaven - 180g lp + mp3 download (due to shiping costs, this price for USA only; outside of USA will have price adjusted upwards to match shipping costs)
Jason Ajemian (bass), Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone), Rob Mazurek (cornet), Jeff Parker (guitar), Chad Taylor (drums).
"One afternoon, a teenaged Jason Ajemian was laying carpet at a country music recording studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains. "I saw an upright bass on top of a vocal booth, so I asked the engineer if I could string it up and borrow it." And so he did. There weren't a lot of jazz musicians around his native Virginia, Ajemian explains, so he got into what was at hand. "I did my first playing with my father's old friends: they did folk songs, hillbilly stuff, mountain music. He grew up in an Irish family. His three brothers were all musicians. Whenever I was around them, there was a lot of music happening." Like Charlie Haden a half-century before him, Ajemian absorbed one batch of American forms - country and bluegrass - on the way to embracing another - jazz and improvised music. The formidable and much-loved New York tenor saxophone player Tony Malaby was the catalyst for the young bassist's transition, mentoring and befriending Ajemian during his first days as a student at Arizona State University. That formative relationship comes full circle on Protest Heaven. This vinyl-only release captures music made on a single evening at the Chicago art gallery Heaven. The performance was the climax of an ongoing series of shows featuring a group assembled from some of the best-known musicians on the city's post-1990s scene: Chicago Underground Duo, Trio, etc., stalwarts Rob Mazurek (trumpet), Chad Taylor (drums) and Jeff Parker (guitar). And the out-of-towner, Mr. Malaby - one of New York City's most valuable players for the last 15 years."
"...a staggering performance by five stellar musicians. Free jazz at its best : expressive, innovative, joint creativity, instant composing, and first and foremost a great listening experience. Don't miss it." — Free Jazz
"The music, although improvised, has a choreographed texture. That's attributable to the players, whose purpose is to make music. Grandstanding is not heard here." — All About Jazz