Everything for Somebody at New York City Jazz Record

Everything For Somebody is the latest quartet disc from ex-Chicago alto saxophonist/clarinetist Aram Shelton, now residing in the Bay Area. He’s joined by Daisy, tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson and bassist Anton Hatwich on a program of six original compositions. Shelton is one of those musicians for whom being an ‘acolyte’ is a respectful position; this writer hasn’t heard too many musicians, especially of a younger generation, take on the compositional tack and improvisational daring of Roscoe Mitchell. Shelton does that but he runs with it and has created a highly personal approach rooted in well-paced repetition and their abstracted (but highly melodic) outgrowths. Jackson’s more burred and quixotic phrasing is a fascinating foil, taking the same germs and contorting them into equally personal problem/solution dynamics. At heart – and not least due to the voluminous, dry activity of Daisy’s kit and the full tone and precise timing of Hatwich – this is swinging and accessible music, far from any rote exercise. Shelton and company balance formal rigor with bright and unruly nowness and that is something their esteemed forbears would appreciate. – Clifford Allen

Originally published in the New York City Jazz Record.