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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Jacob Wick - Standards (Full Spectrum Records, 2022)

By Keith Prosk

Gibrán Andrade, Mabe Fratti, Amanda Irarrázabal, Federico Sánchez, and Jacob Wick play five songs from others with drums, cello, contrabass, guitar, and trumpet on the 46’ Standards.

Eight minutes pass. The viscous rhythms of drums, a gyre of lethargy from groaning strings in complementary spaces, picked music box melodies and brass elegies develop a tender, somber mood. And then Wick sings. A wooden croon and wail in and out of tune with a delivery of slack-jawed apathy and in this way the voice conveys a tension that is always felt if not understood through the music. It turns Bruce Springsteen’s timid ballad urgent, gives Waylon Jennings’ country western melodrama gravity.

In the arc of the set, a continuous take, this simultaneous presence of opposing feelings cultivates a complex emotivity. The buoyant jubilation of Andrew Hill’s groove brightens the dark moods around it and the disarming earnestness of “Nacho” shifts the deadpan diction before it towards a tool to express the heart and soul. Humor peppers the heaviness and Strayhorn’s standard comes with a wink after the object of desire in “I’m On Fire” becomes a boy. It’s queer art that renders its queerness by acknowledging the everything in everyone.