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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jason Robinson - The Two Faces of Janus – (Cuneiform Records, 2010) ***

By Bryan McAllister

Jason Robinson is not a name I was familiar with before hearing this album, but with Rudresh Mahanthappa, Liberty Ellman and Drew Gress in the band, I knew I was in for a treat. Sure enough, “The Two Faces of Janus” takes the listener on a very spirited journey through twisting corridors of composition, with virtuosic solos and colorful horn lines, all backed by a lively rhythm section.

My favorite track is definitely “Return to Pacasmayo,” featuring raw and edgy solos by Liberty Ellman and Jason Robinson. Another favorite is “Persephone’s Scream,” on which the saxophone playing of Mahanthappa and Robinson is nothing short of masterful. Strap yourself in and check out this great album.

Jason Robinson – Tenor sax, soprano sax, alto flute
Marty Ehlrich – Alto sax, bass clarinet
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Alto sax
Liberty Ellman – Guitar
Drew Gress – Bass
George Schuller – Drums


Jason Crane | said...

Hi Stef,

Jason was on The Jazz Session recently talking about this record and the others he recently released:

All the best,


Unknown said...

I'm not trying to nit-pick, but giving this 3 stars (out of a 1-5 star scale, I presume) would indicate that the reviewer has some reservations about the record. But you don't get that from the actual review.

Bryan McAllister said...

Premo - Thanks for the input, I understand what you mean. The way I tend to go with the star ratings is albums that are good overall get 3 stars, great albums that go beyond that get 4 stars, and albums that I believe should be considered some of the best releases of the year get 5 stars.

I put this album at 3 stars because it is a good album, and I think people should check it out, especially because Jason Robinson is not a household name but is a great player.

I didn't give it 2 stars because a 2 star album is good, but has a few tracks that aren't so good, and a 1 star album is an album in which the majority of the album is lacking.

I don't like to give half stars because I feel like it gets a little too complicated in doing so. I would much rather you read my words than judge the album simply by a number of stars. I'm sorry if my words seem like they don't match the stars, I'll try and give a more detailed explanation in the future. Also, I'd like to add that I certainly don't see 3 stars as being a bad thing at all. Thanks for the feedback!