(New Album Review) Andrew Endres Collective- Desolation
Desolation, the debut record of my friend Andrew Endres’s jazz project Andrew Endres Collective, is a labor of love that’s been a long time coming. Besides the fact that it took roughly a year to get the album properly mixed and mastered, its autumnal (despite being recorded in the summer…) and philosophical tone gives the feeling of something that gestated for a lifetime. On the 10 tracks that make up Desolation, Endres’s liquid lines on electric guitar are accompanied by Stephanie Cooke on piano, Dave Valdez on alto sax, Lindsey Quint on baritone sax, Sam Hallam on bass, and James Ford on drums.
It is not exactly easy to sum just what makes this album so special. To start off, it’s immediately apparent that this is a very intellectually honest affair: just a tight, sprightly post-bop-styled sextet knocking out some truly hypnotic choruses and quietly beautiful melodies without any fuss. What Endres and the band choose do with this now more-or-less dated idiom is what really draws one in, though– an undertone that the attentive listener will pick up on well-before digging through Andrew’s extremely personal track-by-track liner notes for the physical release. Desolation is a work driven by a concept, in the form of a general feeling rather than a narrative– piece by piece, it articulates the awkward, maddening, lonely strangeness of this life, through the sad, searching calls and responses that really define the character of the album much more than the solos! And when it comes to the very powerful emotional effects present on this album, it’s not always Drew who is the player, though he was the architect of this vision. Whether it be in the intoxicating downhill sled-ride Ford and Endres take us on for “Conciousness”, the understated, almost quizzical victory of Valdez’s sax on “Loss of Phobia”, or Cooke’s softly pleading chords on “Hatred on a Thousand”, the album just grabs hold of you and gives you something real to deal with. It’s brisk and bouncy only on the surface– if you pay attention, you can feel the wrinkles furrowed by the endlessly rationalizing melancholy of both the heart and the head we all know too well. One of the few things I feel like I could very strongly recommend to somebody who likes Pat Metheny just as much as The Evpatoria Report…but to understand why, you’ve got to check it out!
The Andrew Endres Collective (with Noah Bernstein taking the place of Valdez on alto sax and Reid Neuman of Quint on tenor sax) will be appearing at Jimmy Mak’s, Thursday, December 10 with Blue Cranes to celebrate the limited LP release of Desolation, playing the whole album in one continuous flow. The concept fits the stream-of-conciousness feel to many of these pieces well. I will definitely be there and I hope that you will too!