Jim Snidero




At first you think there’s a guitar in the ensemble, and then you hear more clearly the teardrop-shaped notes of Do Yeon Kim’s gayageum, the ancient Korean cousin of the koto. Jazz being a language rather than an idiom, the instrument readily slots into this music’s neon vibrancy. Jim Snidero is a swashbuckling alto saxophonist, and his compositions are not so much underpinned by grooves as driven by winds.

It takes phenomenal sophistication and sensitivity from the rhythm section to achieve that effect, and Australian Linda May Han Oh (Pat Metheny’s bassist) and Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell’s drummer) are outstanding at propelling the pieces without weighing them down. They make the music an airy place, and deploy dynamics so that an instrument as delicate as the gayageum can sing its gentle songs without fighting to be heard. Another of Oh’s regular employers, trumpeter Dave Douglas, is also present, lacing the music with his skittish lines, and the band is completed by the spare, fascinating conception of pianist Orrin Evans from the Bad Plus. Asian-flavoured melodic motifs happily cohabit with post-bop orthodoxies, the alto’s sharp edge and the rustle of the rhythm section.