Rob Reddy's Honor System
Post-War EuphoriaSGL 1512-2
“And what a band this is…Some of the most urgent, alive improvisational music I’ve heard in years.”
— John Baxter, Option
In his recording debut, New York composer, reedman, and bandleader Reddy has created a thrilling and original synthesis of his jazz, blues, funk and gospel roots. Though he leads jazz ensembles, Rob points out that he is not specifically a jazz musician: to him, gospel — which he discovered working with Ronald Shannon Jackson — is the basis of American music. Certainly Post-War Euphoria has its moments of ecstasy and praise, but they are part of a complex response to black music traditions and the American experience, from Armstrong, Bechet, Ellington, Mingus and Monk, to Ornette, Coltrane and Albert Ayler, and from Robert Johnson and Mahalia Jackson to Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, and 60s-70s soul, r&b and rock — including more contemporary figures like Henry Threadgill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, Reggie Workman, Oliver Lake, and Arthur Blythe. Rob’s songs feature strong, distinctive melodies, solos used as compositional tools, and a variety of ensembles that colour and texture the music, give it weight, and generate an irresistible drive. From the brightly sarcastic “Post-War Euphoria” to the deeply reverential “Thanks”, the collective blends and skirmishes of “The Tall People” to the conflicted emotions of “Up-South”, Rob reflects on aspects of our century’s social and musical history through a new kind of folk-jazz.
Rob Reddy grew up on Long Island and has lived in New York since 1985. He has toured in Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society (together with Jef Lee Johnson and Dom Richards) and in Reggie Workman’s ensembles. He formed the Rob Reddy Trio (featuring Workman and Pheeroan akLaff) in 1992 and the Honor System in 1993, and has led and composed for other groups that included Rashied Ali, Dave Douglas, Gerry Hemingway, and Phillip Wilson among others.
Trumpeter Eddie Allen leads his own quintet; he has recorded with and composed for Lester Bowie, Louis Hayes, Chico Freeman, Muhal Richards Abrams, and Vanessa Rubin, as well as performing with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston, Henry Threadgill, Bobby Watson, Benny Carter, Billy Harper, and Steve Turre.
Trombonist Josh Roseman leads his own sextet, The Chemical Wedding, and has performed with Lester Bowie, Steve Coleman, David Murray, Craig Harris, Muhal Richard Abrams, Peter Apfelbaum, Oliver Lake, Sam Rivers, Graham Haynes, Me’Shell N’DegeOcello, the Skatalites, Cibo Matto, and recently with Dave Douglas, Joey Baron, Ned Rothenberg, Don Byron, Hilton Ruiz, Patato Valdez, the Groove Collective, and the Brooklyn Funk Essentials.
Guitarist Jef Lee Johnson recently released a CD of his own rock/soul/funk songs, Blue (on Coconut Grove). Apart from touring and recording three CDs with Shannon Jackson, he can be heard on records by Chaka Khan, Rachelle Ferrell and Tal Ross; he has also performed and/or recorded with D’Angelo, McCoy Tyner, Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass, Gerald Veasley, and Will Downing.
British-born bassist Dom Richards has performed and recorded with Shannon Jackson, Sam Rivers, Paul Bley, John Abercrombie, Franklin Kiermyer, and Phillip Wilson.
Drummer Pheeroan akLaff leads ensembles of various geo-ethnic backgrounds, and has released several records as a leader (his latest CD, Sonogram, is on Muworks). During a career that began in the mid-’70s he has performed and recorded with Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, James Newton, Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, Bakida Carroll, Cecil Taylor, and Sonny Sharrock, and more recently with Mal Waldron, Yosuke Yamashita, Geri Allen, Anthony Braxton, Reggie Workman, and Ray Anderson.
“The Honor System takes an ambitious and passionate ramble through Reddy’s limber compositions…that lead not only in the direction of virtuosic soloing and intricate ensemble performance, but also toward the more populist pleasures of r&b and rock. The results are both impressive and fun.” — William Stephenson, Jazziz
“…everybody here is given the opportunity to shine and everybody does. Trumpeter Eddie E.J. Allen and trombonist Josh Roseman are particularly exciting…The result is a wonderful record, funky, blues-y, jazzy, tinged with gospel, and fraught with friction and tension throughout. Highly recommended. — Geoff Brown, rec.music.bluenote