CD Review: John Escreet’s “the epicenter of your dreams”

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

John Escreet’s latest album, “the epicenter of your dreams,” stands as a testament to his unwavering pursuit of artistic growth and innovation. Recently, I had the privilege of immersing myself in this captivating release, and I can confidently say that it is a work of exceptional quality that demands attention.

Escreet’s previous album, “Seismic Shift,” introduced a trio of remarkable strength and intelligence, featuring bassist Eric Revis and drummer Damion Reid. Their dynamic music, ranging from tightly composed to freely improvised, elegant to fierce, astonished critics and audiences alike. With “the epicenter of your dreams,” Escreet has expanded his sonic palette, inviting the legendary tenor saxophonist Mark Turner to join this exceptional ensemble.

Recorded in Los Angeles, where Escreet relocated from Brooklyn prior to the pandemic, “the epicenter of your dreams” stands as a document of the city’s vibrant and diverse progressive jazz scene. Escreet describes it as “really broad and diverse,” encompassing not only the New York musicians who have relocated to the West Coast but also a thriving local scene. This fertile environment has undoubtedly influenced the album’s creative direction.

From the opening track, “Call it what it is,” which Escreet describes as “contemporary quartet play at its finest,” to the angular and experimental “the epicenter of your dreams,” the album offers a diverse and engaging listening experience. Highlights include the high-energy swing piece “Departure No. 1,” showcasing exceptional musicianship and a standout piano solo, and the aptly titled “Meltdown,” a free-form exploration of energy and structure. The track, “trouble and activity,” leaves the listener exhausted yet craving more, a testament to the quartet’s ability to captivate and enthrall.

Escreet’s compositions on “the epicenter of your dreams” pay homage to his enduring inspirations. The inclusion of Stanley Cowell’s “departure no.1” and Andrew Hill’s “erato” demonstrates Escreet’s reverence for these unsung heroes of jazz, while also showcasing the quartet’s ability to reinterpret and breathe new life into these compositions.

Throughout the album, one can hear the sound of boundaries being pushed and unease turning into discovery, as Escreet strives to maintain a balance between his musical concepts and allowing his collaborators to shine. The ensemble’s unique personalities, both musical and otherwise, are on full display, with Revis projecting tremendous presence, Reid matching Escreet’s rhythmic and energetic explorations, and Turner’s transcendent voice adding a layer of Zen-like lyricism.\

In conclusion, John Escreet’s “the epicenter of your dreams” is a remarkable addition to the contemporary jazz canon. It is a testament to Escreet’s unwavering pursuit of artistic growth and his ability to assemble an ensemble of exceptional talent and chemistry. While the album may challenge listeners with its diverse and experimental nature, it is a rewarding and engaging listening experience that demands attention. Highly recommended for enthusiasts seeking a fresh and innovative musical journey.

John Escreet – piano | Mark Turner – tenor saxophone | Eric Revis – bass | Damion Reid – drums

Track Listing:
1. call it what it is | 2. the epicenter of your dreams | 3. departure no.1 | 4. meltdown | 5. trouble and activity | 6. erato | 7. lifeline | 8. other side

Release Date: 7th June 2024
Format: CD | Streaming
Label: Blue Room Music

Last modified: July 6, 2024