On his new album of original compositions, East-coast guitarist Ryan Blotnick mines a bittersweet melodic/harmonic vein balanced by an African-influenced rhythmic elan. Conceived as an antidote to the more aggressive forms of New York jazz, Kush offers freshly-minted waltzes, haunting ballads and more than a touch of Frisellian Americana, as well as a variety of grooves combining jazz and African feels. Ryan comments: “I think a lot of ‘modern’ cats look outside of themselves for direction and this music is more introspective even though it reaches out to the audience very directly.” New York saxophonist Michael Blake (with three releases on Songlines, most recently Fulfillment), a longtime Blotnick mentor and collaborator, is the perfect foil, contributing his own blend of lyricism, heat, and harmonic depth. Also integral to the record’s success is the buoyant yet laid-back rhythm team of Scott Colberg, bass (Calexico) and RJ Miller, drums. The album repays close attention for its subtle details while also rewarding listeners more attuned to moods than solos.
Time: Doors @ 7:30- show @ 8:00T. Tickets: $5 students, $10 seniors, $15 in advance + $20 @ door. Advanced tickets available: Jet Video + Starbird in Portland; Gulf of ME Booksin Brunswick.
Check out the complete Dimensions in Jazz fall schedule at the Portland Conservatory of Music website.