Jason Arkins | In Focus Review


Jason Arkins | In Focus Review

Harmonizing Future and Present: A Fresh Look at Jason Arkins’ In Focus

by Darnell Jackson

Jason-Arkins-cdIn the daring debut EP In Focus, the up-and-coming jazz maestro, Jason Arkins, unveils a vibrant sonic panorama that fearlessly navigates the traditional and contemporary terrains. This recording serves as a ‘concert A,’ a tuning pitch inviting listeners to recalibrate their ears and expectations as Arkins’ saxophone guides us through the polyphonic labyrinth of his innovative compositions with his ensemble.

The EP initiates with the bold “Mister Behaving,” which finds the ensemble diving headfirst into various soundscapes. This composition showcases the innovative spirit of Arkins’ music, with its labyrinthine time signatures and unconventional melodic development. The narrative ebbs and flows, driven by the punchy dialogue between Arkins on saxophone and Beau Cornelius’ lively keyboard work. Leo Folsom’s synthesizers cast a shimmering sonic layer, providing the perfect balance to Mike Ramos’ solid bass foundation and Jack Dratch’s dynamic drumming.

“The Higher Road” beckons with a theme that morphs and develops with imaginative intensity. The dual keyboards of Cornelius and Folsom sculpt a sonorous playground, engaging in a captivating push-and-pull dynamic. Meanwhile, Ramos and Dratch set a pulsating rhythm, a heartbeat against which Arkins paints an expressive solo.

“Cut Scene” begins with Dratch setting the tone for the engaging dialogue between Arkins and Folsom against theJason-Arkins-1 backdrop of Dratch’s laid-back rhythm. Unexpected metric shifts and harmonic turns serve as the cornerstones of Arkins’ adventurous writing. Cornelius’ solo here is absorbing, with its ebb and flow of intensity evoking a journey through varying sonic terrains.

“In Focus,” the title track, encapsulates Arkins’ innovative spirit. This piece stands out for its creativity, blending acoustic and synthesizer sounds to forge a rich sonic texture. Arkins’ saxophone soars over the soundscape, matched in skill and expressiveness by Cornelius’ dynamic piano solo.

“A Squeegee Situation” concludes the journey with a splash of energy. This tune retains the puckish spirit inherent in Arkins’ compositions while offering another showcase for his melodic inventiveness. Harmonic overtones ring freely, punctuated by the ensemble’s syncopated rhythm, creating an invigorating finale to this debut EP.

Jason-Arkins-2In Focus presents five compositions that stand individually yet serve as chord tones shaping a larger jazz harmony, where each piece resonates with the whole, contributing to a resonant and cohesive opus. Just as a well-crafted coda brings a piece to its satisfying completion while teasing the melodies of what could come next, this album finalizes with an unmistakable promise of more to come. In Focus is an enjoyable leap into the future of jazz fusion, where the vigor of Arkins and his ensemble’s artistry converges with daring compositions to birth something genuinely unexpected. Wherever his innovative vision leads us next, one thing is clear – we’ll be tuned and ready for the downbeat.

5-finger-rates-the-album-90In Focus

Release Date: January 20, 2023

Label: Jarkbox Music

About the author

Darnell Jackson

Be the first to comment on "Jason Arkins | In Focus Review"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.