Few bandleaders play the vibraphone, and no vibraphonist sounds quite like Jason Adasiewicz. Little wonder that he’s quickly earning accolades from the jazz community as a highly creative musician and leader.
Spacer is the second disc from Adasiewicz’s Sun Rooms trio, which also features bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed. Whereas the other group he leads, the quintet Rolldown, is a bit looser harmonically, Sun Rooms takes a gentler approach, putting a greater emphasis on texture and melodic development. That’s certainly true here, but Adasiewicz also subtly pushes the sound of the trio — and his instrument — into new territory.
Adasiewicz is known for a hard-hitting, four-mallet technique, and for working the damper pedal to the point where overtones bleed into one another. You can hear it on tunes as distinct as the easy-swinging “Hi Touch” and the plaintive ballad “Pillow.” But there’s also plenty of tension within the trio’s dynamic. As Adasiewicz’s overtones float dreamily over the hard-charging “Run Fly,” Reed alternates snare, rim and tom-tom strikes to create a foundation that’s both propulsive and exotic.
Adasiewicz opens and closes the disc with solo numbers. Using the backs of two violin bows, he coaxes an eerie bell-like sound from his instrument — yet another example of how he’s looking for ways to stretch. And the vibist’s straightforward compositions augment beautiful themes with ample room for exploration.
Although Adasiewicz is a key figure in Chicago’s diverse improvised-music scene, Sun Rooms is proving his stature in the broader jazz community.
—John Frederick Moore