The Inward Song is hardly the quiet, introverted recital of music that might be expected, given the album's title. While alto saxophonist Christian Weidner does throw in a few pieces that fit nicely under this banner, the music on this CD also demonstrates a great deal of range. A case in point is the way the album begins. "St. Paul" starts off with Weidner and pianist Colin Vallon delivering angular unison lines on a blank canvas. Bassist Henning Sieverts and drummer Samuel Rohrer enter with a seemingly un-metered, wavy undercurrent of sound. The intensity just builds from there and reaches fever pitch, with Weidner exuding a John Coltrane-style spiritualism and intensity in his delivery.
Bound to Roll, Julian Sas’ eight studio album, is a record that took time to make. More than two-and-a-half years, tells the Dutch blues man, I had tons of ideas and was writing constantly but a lot of that went straight into the bin. ‘Bound to Roll’ is a very personal record. This album is about pleasure, enjoyment, love, loss, pain and sadness. About real life, about the blues, about experiences that, I hope, made me stronger and a better human being. For me making this album was a way of dealing with my emotions.
Pianist Harold Mabern and bassist Kieran Overs, although from Memphis and Canada, respectively, explore ten songs written by jazz musicians from Philadelphia on this CD, plus Mabern's "Edward Lee." While a few of the tunes are fairly well known in jazz (particularly Lee Morgan's "Ceora" and Benny Golson's "Whisper Not"), most of the others are obscure. Mabern and Overs work quite well together, with the bassist adding stimulating lines to the pianist's solos and having some good solo spots himself. Since Mabern, whose modern chord voicings are fresh and personal while influenced a bit by McCoy Tyner, has not recorded enough during his long career, this set is a valuable addition to his discography.