New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
In its debut album, Man of the Earth, the Jesse
Peterson Quartet springs into jazz, pounces on it. Drums, bass, sax, and piano arrive fully conscious from the first minute, ready to tussle and muse through these eight evocative compositions by Jesse
Peterson. The performances are energetic and smart, and the recordings capture a group of musicians caught up in the euphoria of invention, precision, and play. Peterson's unique brand of midwestern-grown melodic indie jazz does not tread with a light, sophisticate's step. Despite their subtlety and wit, these songs feel sturdy, hearty, corn-fed. This jazz leaves tracks in the mud.
The title track, "Man of the Earth," shows off a tonal and rhythmic diversity that characterizes the album. Raw pentatonic patterns provide a foundation for a colorful, complex melody that ascends and swirls above. An easy swing parries with driving subdivisions. Restraint and subtlety give way to kinetic crashes and splashes. Amid all this movement, the band shifts confidently, unified in improvisational freedom and in written lines.
The name of the album and title track refer to Peterson's father, whose capacity for earnest work and play inspired some of the songs and shaped his son's approach to music. He owned and operated a trucking and landscaping company for most of his life, and left an imprint that can be felt in the hulking joie de vivre of these songs. This rootedness in earth and family tethers the complexity and experimentation of the album to something narrative, grounded.
Peterson Quartet makes jazz feel fresh and knowing, fierce and good-natured.Man of the Earth invites audiences to move, to imagine, to listen in on stories and impressions and meditations from an inspired composer and four compelling musical voices worth the airtime.
Peterson, as a composer and drummer, takes us places. He puts on jazz as a lens and sees America. These songs describe the America
he grew up in, rural Minnesota, a realm of space, humble earthbound hymns and motor oil. They also show us his home in New York City, a brusque, impatient world, clogged with humans and clamoring with ambition. Throughout the album, these two locales sometimes appear with distinction, clarity, but at other times they meet, they comment on each other, they clash and step on each other's toes.
Peterson hails originally from northern Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he studied percussion with Fernando Meza and Phil Hey and music composition with Judith
Zaimont. Off-campus he studied regularly with and drew inspiration from fellow Minnesotan drummer/composer Dave King (The Bad Plus/ Happy Apple). After co-founding various jazz and rock groups in Minneapolis and Boston, he has led the NYC-based Jesse
Peterson Quartet since 2013. Their debut recording, Man of the Earth, will be released July 13, 2018 on Ears & Eyes Records.