Andy Ezrin | I Was Here Review


Andy Ezrin | I Was Here Review

by Darnell Jackson

Andy-Ezrin-5-Finger-Review-CDAndy Ezrin’s latest album, I Was Here, is a collection of tunes that vividly depict Ezrin’s vast artistic palette. As a writer with a penchant for uncovering the melodic and emotional threads woven into jazz harmonies, Ezrin’s approach to jazz is enjoyable. More specifically, the album provides an opportunity for the listener to have Ezrin’s rich inner world offer a journey that is as personal as it is universal.

The album opens with “Wiggle Room,” a track that opens the door to Ezrin’s playful side. The upbeat tempo and lively interplay between the piano and Donny McCaslin’s tenor sax set a tone of joyful spontaneity. Here, jazz is not just heard; it’s felt. The piece is a dance, a celebration of freedom within the form, showcasing Ezrin’s ability to balance the structured composition with space for the liberating thrill of improvisation from the ensemble members.

“Lost Days” shifts the mood to one of introspection and nostalgia. With outstanding accompaniment by John Patitucci on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums, Ezrin explores his artistry’s more tender, vulnerable aspects. The track is a slow river of sound, with each note and pause laden with longing. The trio’s performance is a balance of restraint and expression, proving that sometimes the spaces between notes can speak louder than the notes themselves.

The album’s centerpiece, “If I Don’t See You,” is a meditation on absence and presence. This ballad, rich withAndy-Ezrin-1 melancholic undertones, features Ezrin’s piano speaking in whispers and sighs. The emotional depth here is palpable, as Ezrin’s fingers glide over the keys, crafting a narrative developed with lyrical motivic ideas and translating complex feelings into compelling musical phrases.

Finally, “Ain’t That Some Shit” injects a dose of humor and earthiness into the album. Featuring a funky blend of piano and Hammond B3, the track is a vibrant splash of color against the styles of the previous songs. It’s as if Ezrin is reminding us that jazz, like life, encompasses a spectrum of emotions—from the reflective to the irreverent.

In I Was Here, Ezrin convenes a remarkable ensemble, each member handpicked to complement and elevate the album’s intricate compositions. At the heart of the rhythm section is the exceptionally versatile John Patitucci on bass, whose nuanced play provides the foundational groove across the album. The dynamic drummers Marcus Gilmore and Ari Hoenig are accompanying him, each bringing their distinctive flair and rhythmic precision to different tracks, enhancing the album’s diverse texture. The ensemble is further enriched by the soulful tones of Randy Brecker on trumpet and the expressive saxophone of Donny McCaslin, whose contributions add layers of depth and emotion.

Andy-Ezrin-2Together, these gifted musicians bring Ezrin’s compositions to life with a collective spirit that buzzes with a synergy that resonates through each piece, creating a cohesive, engaging, and profoundly moving sound. In I Was Here, Andy Ezrin shows he is a versatile pianist who invites us into his world, sharing stories woven from a rich fabric of influences and experiences.


I Was Here

Release Date: April 19, 2024

Label: Ez It Iz Music

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Darnell Jackson

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