Snuck In (Sunnyside Records; 2010)
Snuck Out (Sunnyside Records; 2011)
Jamire Williams (drums)
J.D. Allen (sax)
Matt CLohesy (bass)
Nir Felder (guitar)
David Weiss has been on the scene for over two decades. He has learned from and played with some of the best in the business such as Charles Tolliver, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and James Moody to name a small few. It's amazing that he has such as small catalog but the material as leader is dynamic, bold and features multiple layers of complexity.
He may be more well known for his work with one of his many projects; The New Jazz Composers Octet which is how I discovered him. The group performed and Weiss wrote material for one of Freddie Hubbard's last recordings, New Colors (Hip Bop). Weiss' recent collective, Point Of Departure, has released two live recordings Snuck In (2010) and Snuck Out (2011). Both are recordings from an evening at New York's Jazz Standard in 2008. The evening is a series of mostly standards with the addition of a small amount of originals. The real achievement here is the group's ability to make these pieces their own.
Weiss' playing is superb, hip and inventive. The bristling impact of Weiss' playing on the opener for Snuck In, "I Have A Dream" shows that he has learned a lot from Hubbard, Henderson and maybe Woody Shaw. Jamire Williams is also crackin' on "I Have A Dream," and challenges the quintet to keep pace. Weiss and J.D. Allen deliver some killer chord changes, and fluid poetry battles on Tony Williams "Black Comedy" and "Number 4". The band tackles the great Andrew Hill on "Erato" and delivers beautiful justice to this complex ballad. The guitar work from Nir Felder is rich and a real surprise over the evening and the two discs.
Snuck Out opens with a powerful "Revillot" (by Charles Tolliver) where Nir Felder conjures up some mystical soundscapes that give the piece a dark adventurous vibe. Weiss has a modern style but adds both free form and hard bopish element to it, especially on Wayne Shorter's "Paraphernalia" where the group creates an excellent avant-fusion moment. Weiss is crisp and direct with his message and you get an all around sense of solidity flowing through the audience and quintet. Weiss' own "Hidden Meanings" is a midtempo number where J.D. Allen and Felder both show a loving and tender side to their playing which emits a different tonal atmosphere for the audience on this night and for the listener at home.
David Weiss & Point Of Departure, a cohesive unit and documented over two discs and one evening of killer performances, all amounts to a sublime experience. But also making clear what a lot of fans inside jazz circles already know -- David Weiss is a serious composer that deserves wider appreciation. Both Snuck In and Snuck Out are must-listen purchases. Enjoy.