Thursday 7 March 2024

It's not often that there's a soloist that releases an eight track album for saxophone (baritone no less) and flute, Jonah Parzen-Johnson has the breath to pull it off.

Jonah really sets his stall out on the opener 'When I Feel Like Myself' where the sounds of baritone vibrate like an inner wind (in a good way) for the mediative yoga/tai chi crew. 

Couldn't have been timed better to coincide with the reissue of Yusef Lateef's 'Eastern Sounds (always loved 'Purple Flower' and is equally at home for fans of James Newton and the 'inner flame' that is Carlos Niño - last seen on YATM on 
'Everyone's Children' (see review HERE); definitely recommend the lingering zen of 'There's So Much I Regret'.

Jonah's use of circular breathing techniques (as popularised by flute / sax virtuosos like James Galway and John Coltrane to name just two) are more than evident of both of his chosen instruments (particularly on 'Not Writing About This' and 'There's So Much To Be Afraid Of') is just mind blowing (no pun etc..) and at times the baritone sounds like a didgeridoo.

'What They Love' is closer to Albert Ayler's heritage (in a dark flight of the bumble bee on baritone sax?) but it all sounds superb andf so deep at  times it could be 3D.  Purists don't worry, the electronics are kept a minimum so the track 'Everyone Is Somewhere' is like a very raw love song whilst equally fitting in with the sounds from across the bass spectrum.

The last We Jazz Records release, Otis Sandsjö 'Y-Otis Tre' is nothing like this (see review HERE) which is one of the reasons we love this label as the standards are so high.  Well worth checking out Parzen-Johnson's 'Imagine Giving Up' (2020) and Colin Stone's re-imagined 'compilation' of We Jazz releases WJLP11-20: 'We Jazz Reworks Vol. 2

I'd love to (Not Be Writing About This) at his live dates in the US this month to coincide with the album's release - see below - how avant-garde trendy would that make we jazz be?

Live Dates

7 March - Nublu - New York NY

10 March 8 East (Workshop) - Vancouver BC

11 March - Tyrant Studios (The Infidels Jazz Presents) - Vancouver BC

12 March - The Chapel  (Wayward Music Series) - Seattle WA

15 March (Afternoon) - Oregon State University - Corvallis OR

15 March (Night) - Megalith - Portland OR

19 March - The Bop Stop - Cleveland OH

20 March - a Trinosophes - Detroit MI

21 March - Communication - Madison WI

22 March - Constellation - Chicago IL

23 March - The Jazz Gallery - Milwaukee WI

24 March - Paradigm Coffee & Music - Sheboygan WI

Artist: Jonah Parzen-Johnson 
Title: You're Never Really Alone
Release date: 8th March, 2024
Label : We Jazz Records
Catalog Number : WJLP64
Format: LP / CD / Digital / Bandcamp 


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