Chicago Jazz Magazine music reviewer writes about Jordan Baskin Trio's album
Wed Mar 14th 2012
Jordan Baskin, a young pianist with impeccable technique and a dynamic presence, delivers his first trio recording on the Origin label with Jake Vinsel on bass and Brian Ritter on drums. Baskin has cut his teeth with many seminal Chicago figures, such as Mike Smith, Von Freeman, and Ira Sullivan, and currently holds sway with his trio at Andy's on Sunday nights.



Baskin's debut as a leader evokes the heyday of classic Blue Note recordings from the 1950s and '60s. The two standards on this album, 'La Mesha' and 'Shade of Jade,' were, in fact, made famous by two legendary Joe Henderson recordings on the Blue Note label. One of the distinct pleasures on this album is the inclusion of six original compositions by Baskin. 'Please, Don't,' a minor, bluesy vehicle, easily could have thrived in the Jazz Messenger book. 'Frenzy' is a brilliant up-tempo tip of the hat to Chick Corea, showcasing some of Baskin's most exciting moments on the recording.



Baskin has absorbed the learnings of the modern jazz piano canon with considerable aplomb. He particularly places himself at the forefront of McCoy Tyner disciples with his galvanizing solos on 'Frenzy' and Joe Henderson's 'Shade of Jade.' Baskin, however, uses these influences as a platform for his own impressive piano stylings, which are quite distinct. Brian Ritter displays his formidable drum skills throughout, from his explosive drum solo on 'Frenzy' to his impassioned brush work on the ballad 'Searching for Solace.' Jake Vinsel also provides excellent support on the bass, from his terrific accompaniment on 'Shade of Jade' to his tasteful solo on the title track, 'High Card.'



On an album teeming with excellent playing and group interaction, perhaps most notable is the pacing and the variety of the production. On piano trio albums it is difficult to provide variety and logical flow due to the small number of soloists. Baskin, however, ably employs varied originals and malleable group interaction that makes each new track a pleasurable transition from the previous tune: the quirky medium-tempo 'High Card' (slightly reminiscent of another Blue Note legend, Andrew Hill) provides a terrific transition between the meditative 'La Mesha' and the powerhouse 'Frenzy.' Baskin's rhapsodic solo introduction on 'Searching for Solace' transitions beautifully into the rhythm section's tasteful entrance into the ballad. Also notable is his gospel-tinged rubato introduction to the waltz melody on 'I Care to Be.' High Card is a wonderful trio debut by Baskin.



By: Dan Healy



Critic's Choice from the Chicago Reader
Sat Jan 28th 2012
Chicago native Jordan Baskin is a fixture on the local mainstream jazz scene, both as a bandleader and as a sideman for other musicians, including saxophonist Mike Smith, singer Kimberly Gordon, and trumpeter Odies Williams. Last year his long-running trio with bassist Jake Vinsel and drummer Brian Ritter self-released its debut album, High Card; taped in the pianist's living room, it's a briskly swinging collection where well-chosen tunes by Joe Henderson and Kenny Dorham fit right in alongside the originals. Part of what makes Baskin a superb accompanist is his restraint, and he doesn't abandon that quality when he leads his own bands. His congenial themes work well as improvisational frameworks and his solos are thoughtfully constructed, but what I enjoy most are his chord choices, which give his left-hand lines beguiling harmonic shapes. Peter Margasak



Brian Lynch Live at Andy's- article written by James Walker
Fri Apr 24th 2009
Grammy award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch joined Chicago saxophonist Mike Smith and his quartet for an evening of exceptional jazz during Andy's "Spotlight Performer" series of guest artists on Friday, April 24, 2009. Joining Lynch and Smith was bassist Jeff Pedraz, drummer Brian Ritter and up-and-coming pianist, Jordan Baskin.
Smith, a semi-regular performer at Andy's, is an exceptional saxophonist, who doesn't receive the recognition he deserves, orchestrated the music for the night. Initially, he allowed the rhythm section to open the set with a nice mid-tempo number. This enabled the audience to particularly recognize the talent of pianist Jordan Baskin. Jordan is also a regular at Andy's.

Brian and Mike joined the "fray" on a Wayne Shorter number. As was the format for most of the evening, Lynch and Smith took turns on extended solos before engaging in friendly "call and Response" toward the conclusion of each number. Lynch distinguished himself on "Jazz Impromptu" from his Grammy-winning album with Eddie Palmieri. He produced nice crisp riffs on his solo, as he demonstrated why he's such a well-respected trumpeter. Both Smith and Baskin were solid when they stretched on this number.

The group played a nice Gershwin ballad during the first set that demonstrated their softer side. Lynch effectively used the mic to occasionally "mute" his horn throughout this beautiful number entitled "I Can't Get Started." He used the same technique during the second set on John Coltrane's "The Wise One." This effect is so positive, especially after he produces several rapid-fire riffs before mellowing out with the muted horn.

Although Smith and the quartet held their own throughout the evening, (especially pianist Baskin), it was the vibrant sound of Lynch that created a flowing polyrhythmic pulse underneath the quartet and elevated the music. His fast and bright trumpet flourishes distinguished his signature bold attack on each and every note. This was another splendid evening of Jazz at one of Chicago's premier Jazz clubs.



Steady gig gives pianist a chance to build a base-Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich writes:
Thu Jan 17th 2008
Chicago seems to produce a disproportionate number of excellent jazz pianists, and one of the more promising has launched a weekly engagement at Andy's Jazz Club.

Though native Chicagoan Jordan Baskin has appeared in rooms such as Andy's and Smoke Daddy for the past few years, his new Tuesday after-work set seems likely to build a following for him. The gentleness of his keyboard touch and the searching quality of his chord choices point to a distinctive young artist. On Tuesday night, Baskin led a finely honed trio through a series of jazz standards and occasionally more exotic fare. Throughout, the pianist emphasized musical substance over flash, long-spun melody lines over virtuoso display.

If George Gershwin's songbook remains central to practically every mainstream jazz pianist, few take on the blues aria "My Man's Gone Now," from "Porgy and Bess." Baskin's version proved poetic, the pianist transforming the piece into a kind of jazz nocturne, complete with gorgeous ornaments in the right hand and lush chordal support in the left. He was nimbly supported by bassist Jake Vinsel and drummer Brian Ritter.






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