Going to gigs I often enjoy the music and buy the CD but at home the music doesn’t seem to have the same presence as it had live. I’ve not heard Jake Leckie live but I immediately warmed to this, his debut recording, as soon as I put in on.
He is not a name I knew before listening but his bass is strong and robust with a resonant rounded sound. Boston born Leckie has spent time in Brookline, Barcelona, Banff, Montreal, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, and is now based in Los Angeles.
The sound is pretty straight ahead post-bop in a contemporary New York style. The eponymous first track opens and closes with strings but in-between moves into a smart bassline and a strong lead by the trumpet of Kenny Warren, a name that may be more familiar in the UK as he is signed to Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Records.
This sets the tone of the CD with Leckie prominent, exchanging lines with Warren and the excellent Swiss piano player Sebastien Ammann. The core quartet is completed by Nathan Ellman-Bell on drums who is excellent throughout.
The theme of the tunes on the CD, all penned by Leckie, is migration, the places, people and the journey that he has been influenced by. And the tunes hold up well as a set with a nice range of feel while remaining cohesive.
‘Metis’ is a slower bluesy number with a lovely bass introduction which moves into a solo from Warren and then an articulate and percussive one from Ammann. ‘Bam Bam’ is hotter with a swinging feel and great underpinning from Leckie and Ellman-Bell. ‘Mutuality’ is a ballad that has bluesy overtones with more classy soloing from Warren. ‘Negev’ is another swinger with a classic trumpet head. ‘Morning Sound’ finds Ivey Page guesting on organ with a churchified opening and continuing with a gospel feel.
On ‘After the Flood’ another guest, the remarkable 17-year-old Alexis Morrast gives us a soul-infused vocal with some cool strings. Her voice is cool and clear in a classic style. The CD concludes with ‘Perseverance’ a slowly pulsing tune with more of an ensemble feel with some expressive soprano sax from Caroline Davis.
The Abode is a really strong debut from Jake Leckie – very listenable and accessible with a very high standard of musicianship – now who will book the band for a UK tour?