Don’t Jay Walk by Jay-Tee – reviewed by Chris Mann


Dutch Composer and bassist Jay-Tee Teterissa draws from the jazz fusion tradition, while at the same time being fully aware of the current state of affairs in this music. His list of musical collaborators includes Mike Stern, Danny Gottlieb, David Garibaldi, Tony Royster Jr, Alain Caron, Jan Akkerman and Candy Dulfer.

He brings his band Jazzm to create this, his second solo album.

I love the energy on ‘Gravity Hill Bounce’. It’s an instrumental which almost immediately goes into a thumbed (not slapped) bass solo. The fretless sound and doubled alto sax line will please Yellowjackets fans and the funky off-the-beat playing will delight fans of Joe Hubbard/Hubbard’s Cubbard. It’s a very high-tech yet soulful sound. It’s the essence of funky fusion – very Herbie Hancock! Nice – what a great start! ‘Bottom Road’ has an altogether less sunny vibe with waves of dark synthesizer, but it roars off led by Mike Stern’s guitar solo and I’m reminded of the Headhunters old ‘Descending Azzizziuh’. This is nuts! More please!

Mike Stern features on the equally dramatic ‘Sticktown’. Again, I’m not about to pigeonhole this track because it opens out into a lovely synthesizer solo, underpinned by some deft snarework. Stern’s own solo is underpinned in its turn by some gorgeous barely-contained funk on the bass. What a sound Jay-Tee gets. There’s some very lyrical bass playing on ‘Wolf’s Woods’ with the guitar sounding much like Casiopea’s Issei Noro (so, good) and a lovely beaten-up Rhodes sound playing the changes. This is a song I know I’ll enjoy more the more I listen.

‘Silence, Piano and Bass’ lets you breathe because it is as simple a performance as it promises to be. Its beauty is that it’s not jazz, classical or progressive rock – though it’s a little of all those things. Timeless. I love music with a cinematic feel and ‘Train of Thought’ has that. The production is incredible, with a barely-plucked bass, bass trombone (?), gentle semi acoustic guitar and whispers of percussion seeming to float in space (that’s apparent using headphones, at least). It’s relaxing but breathtaking all at once. Here’s my summary: it’s the sound of James Bond falling asleep.

Percussion opens ‘Morning Traffic’ and as the intensity builds, the soprano sax states the theme clearly. Yellowjackets fans jump on board. Lovers of harmonics on bass, prepare yourselves. As with the previous song, I’m more drawn into a soundscape than into any specific melodic or rhythmic strand. This is hypnotic stuff but, like the rush hour, it slows to a halt and you can heave a sigh. ‘Magnolia’s Vineyard’ is a lovely cinematic piece where the bass takes the melody, which the soprano sax picks up. All the while, almost mystical percussion keeps time. Dreamy doesn’t mean dull – certainly it doesn’t here.

Sounding like a lost part of the Apocalypse Now soundtrack, the grand intro to ‘Black Ships at Sea’ keeps us guessing with sounds of Australia, sounds of China, sounds of Hollywood. The central bass figure could almost be from a Celtic folk song. You might think I’m crazy – I probably am nuts to try describing music as imaginative as this. ‘Mount Gerald Summit’ starts of in a similarly eerie vein until the bass announces its presence and bounces from slap riff to solo and back effortlessly. There’s a tense fretless bass solo to hammer home the point (if you had forgotten) that in the right hands, the electric bass really can say anything. A warm alto sax picks up the few things that the bass leaves unsaid. The closer ‘Camp Adderstone’ opens with the kind of funk bass I could – and sometimes try to – listen to all day. Sax takes the melody and leads the changes too. It’s (dare I say it) the most conventionally funky jazz tune on the album. That is until two minutes in, when it gets funky in a Herbie Hancock way – great keys, drums that fly along and pace that will leave you breathless. Five minutes in and you’re in deep chillout mode – and loving that too! That lovely electric piano remains centre stage but the mood has completely changed. Weird, listen to this on headphones and the cymbals sound like they’re behind you. Some of these songs have an almost 3D sound.

Ahh, I know I’ve mentioned other artists during this review. The music is so creative that I’d find it hard to tell you about it if I had no reference points. The simple fact is that writing this has pushed my own ability to appreciate and to express that appreciation. I’ve enjoyed the challenge - this is a masterwork by a composer/player/producer with a vision.

Thank God that in these cautious times such daring music is still being created.



Musictech/Jay-Tee Teterissa – Producer Jeroen van Itersen

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