In Common, out on November 9 via Whirlwind Recordings, is the eponymous debut album by a new stellar ensemble featuring saxophonist Walter Smith III, guitarist Matthew Stevens, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Together, they fashion striking improvisations from original compositional foundations.
Listen to the premiere of “About 360” from In Common via the player below:
In Common was recorded at the Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, New York, in November 2017, and is produced by Smith and Stevens. “Walter and I had been talking about putting together a recording session together,” explains Stevens about the genesis of this ensemble, “and decided to go into the studio with music that could be quickly interpreted with an interesting group of musicians and to let it unfold naturally from there.”
The outcome of the resulting sessions is an unaffected and dynamic recording of succinct, in-the-moment canvases that exhibit an engaging contemporary style, by a group of peers sharing a mutual musical vocabulary. “Part of the basis for the project was to write relatively simple music,” says Smith. “The idea of simplicity downplayed individual ownership, which was liberating.”
“About 360” is a breezy reinterpretation of a song Smith originally composed for his 2014 release, Still Casual. “It was composed to be played as fast as possible,” the saxophonist tells us. “the title reflects the tempo marking, ‘About 360.’ On this version, we start at that tempo and then find a more ‘relaxed way’ to approach it.”
Photo credits: Paul Antonell
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