The Upshot: Mastering the art of making a lovely noise.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Not all jazz need be fiery improvisational interplay. Alongside pianist Dominik Wania, bassist Ole Morten Vågan and drummer Gard Nilssen, Polish saxophonist Maciej Obara clearly prefers the more sedate, sensual side of jazz on the first half of his ECM debut Unloved. With Wania as his closest ally, Obara caresses each melody with his horn, striking a lush pose on the title tune and “Joli Bord.” The second half of the record kicks up its heels, however. The rhythm section brings “Sleepwalker” and “Echoes” to a boil, allowing the scene-stealing Wania to wander around his keyboard with McCoy Tyner-like exuberance and Obara to generate some real heat. The album ends with the dreamy “Storyteller,” soothing the energy like a cool down after a yoga session. Obara’s quartet doesn’t push any boundaries with Unloved, but they don’t need to, since they’ve mastered the art of making a lovely noise.
DOWNLOAD: “Echoes,” “Storyteller,” “Joli Bord”