This is a great new recording by jazz artists you may not have heard before, but they are coming Out of NoWhere to knock your socks off!! This is a kaleidoscopic tour of great music and a wonderful hang with some great jazz!
Here is what jazz players from around the country are saying about it:
“Out of NoWhere”
Dr. Thomas Walsh, Director of Jazz Studies, Indiana University
This album is bursting with personality. Full of contrasting moods—soulful gospel, groovin’ Afro-Cuban, joyful swing, and even a bit of reggae—it rewards repeated listening.
The band’s frontline features freewheeling saxophonist Mark Watkins showing his versatility on soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone, and trumpeter Ryan Nielsen’s fat, burnished tone and well-paced solos.
The rhythm section shows off the sparkling playing of pianist Justin Nielsen, the buoyant bass lines of Aaron Miller, and the propulsive drumming of Jay Lawrence. They not only provide an abundance of great-feeling grooves, they are engaged from beginning to end. Their sensitive interplay ensures that each track is a continuously unfolding story. Their attention never flags and yours won’t either!
John McNeil, Brooklyn, NY; New England Conservatory
I am personally acquainted with two of the players on this CD — the Nielsen brothers, trumpeter Ryan and pianist Justin. I met both a few years ago in Boston, where Ryan was pursuing a doctorate in either jazz or nuclear physics, I was never sure which.
As a jazz musician living in New York, one has a tendency to think that all good jazz stops at the Hudson River, with an occasional outpost in New Jersey or maybe Chicago. When presented with evidence to the contrary, such as this recording, one also tends towards amazement. These musicians play with a cohesiveness only found in groups that have worked together and internalized the music and arrangements.
Among the album’s strengths is the material itself. Impressively, every member of Out of Nowhere can write. Another notable plus is the instrumental capabilities of all five: Mark Watkins’ blazing fingers and proficiency on soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; Aaron Miller’s clever abstract rhythmic counter lines; the breathtaking singing quality of Ryan Nielsen’s trumpet sound; Jay Lawrence’s outspoken ability to boost the quintet to higher levels of energy; and Justin Nielsen–who pretty much burns the house down on everything.
All in all, this CD is a good listen. Like all jazz recordings, it’s a snapshot of the players’ development at that moment. And knowing that, one wonders what the next snapshot will reveal.
Brent Jensen, Dry Martini #1 on the jazz charts; Jazziz, JazzWeek, and NPR JazzWorks top recording artist
When Aaron Miller mentioned to me that the name of the cooperative jazz quintet he had joined was “Out of Nowhere” I immediately understood the wry reference. Having performed and hung out with each of these enormously talented musicians for many years, our individual and collective conversations would inevitably turn to the topic of how frustrating it can be to ply one’s trade outside of the established jazz centers of the United States. You’ll find there is no need to lament the geographic isolation in this exceptional ensemble’s case as each musician brings the “double threat” (or should that be “double treat”?) of their instrumental prowess and formidable compositional skills to the table. The variety of music heard on their debut recording offers something for jazz fans of every stripe; the funky hard-bop of “Doctor Brother” and “The Gospel According to Mark”, an inventive reharmonization of “Lady Be Good”, the postbop musings of “Trane of Thought” and “Perilous Passage” and some imaginative re-workings the jazz standards “Solar” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” are but a few of the highlights. I’m sure you’ll agree with me after listening to this wonderful disc that “Out of Nowhere” is a group that is definitely headed somewhere!
Kobie Watkins, drummer with Sonny Rollins
“Lady Be Good”…energetic, it invokes movement and dance, an enthusiastic arrangement. Jay Lawrence’s solo into the “Waltz” song is colorful and has deliberate qualities of Elvin Jones and Jack Dejohnette, followed by a musically moving bass solo by Aaron Miller, great bari-sax sound and solo by Mark Watkins; this song allows each musician to be organically expressive. Cool old school churchy feel, “Doctor Brother.” “Trane of Thought” blurred the lines of cool and modern Jazz with it’s own personality and appeal. Would love to hear the melody played twice. “Iberia meets Nigeria” is colorful and distinctly different in the best way from all the other tunes on the album…nice (that’s important)! “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” is very wistful with in depth feeling surrounded by the emotion of today’s (2014) time, Beautiful playing Ryan Nielsen and Mark Watkins. “Vamps,” a song i am quite familiar with by Justin Nielsen, captures so many emotions from his musicianship and love for the music. This is a well-made album with purposeful, seasoned musicianship.
Dr. Vern Seilert, solo trumpet, Lionel Hampton Big Band
This is a remarkable set of tunes by Out of Nowhere. With interesting original compositions and fresh treatments of jazz standards, they cover a broad spectrum of styles and grooves with ease and authority. Each member of the group has ample room to stretch and take us on a journey in the environment of a wonderfully sensitive, supportive, and grooving rhythm section. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Brad Leali, alto sax with Basie and Harry Connick, Jr.; University of North Texas
Out of Nowhere has certainly made a positive contribution to the panoply of jazz recordings. This project is an example of originality, variety, creativity and thorough musicianship. I especially admire how these capable musicians navigate through diverse arrangements and harmonic challenges because these are factors that keep the player and listener engaged. Kudos to these dedicated musicians.
Dr. Jeffrey Campbell, bass with Marian McPartland; Director of Jazz Studies, Eastman School of Music
The music performed by Out of Nowhere strikes a wonderful balance of highly organized/well-conceived music with an ideal sense of spontaneity and exploration. The ten tracks feature inviting original compositions and imaginative arrangements of classic standards – with each leading perfectly to the next in an inviting journey of listening. It is clear that this is a band that has developed its own sound and that they enjoy playing together. The music is fresh and exhibits a great range of variety from Swing to Reggae to Fusion to Blues and beyond. This is a great set of compelling music and Out of Nowhere performs with great heart and passion.