BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Eternal Youth hit my desk in June and has been on non-stop rotation on my stereo ever since. Chris Mondak, a bassist hailing from Venezuela ,hits hard on his maiden voyage. With nods to Dave Holland and a whole slew of classical jazz composers, the listener is treated to eight original compositions that are a true joy to behold.
Opener “Voyage Maid” wastes no time in showing us the goods Chris has in store for us. His virtuosity is a wonder to behold as are his compositional skills which soar to lofty heights throughout the album. His players are exceptional and they add heft without overshadowing Chris at just the right moments. Solomon Alber’s sax opens the beautiful tune “Abuelito” and captures a mournful beauty that sounds a dead ringer for Stan Tracey. “Dream Catcher” is a Bossa nova number that has some stellar guitar playing by Carlos Heredia. I really dig how the number takes a funky turn midway through the track. “Warriorld” is Chris’ homage to jazz greats like Clifford Brown and shows that his compositional talent has a dramatically wide scope. If there’s one let down its “Swords on the wall” this track feels weak and slapdash and zig’s when it should zag.
This summer has been filled with meeting upcoming jazz player and listening to their music and I can say, with Chris Mondak, the future of jazz is bright indeed.
DOWNLOAD: “Voyage Maid” “Dream Catcher” “Abuelito” “Warriorld”