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CD REVIEW: Jordan Gravel - Collage

By: Cyrus Rhodes


"Gold Standard Jazz"






Artist: Jordan Gravel

Album: Collage

Label: Independent Artist

Website: http://jordangravel.com/

Genre: Alternative Rock, Ambient Rock

Sounds Like: Vince Guaraldi, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, George Duke

Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Beatrice, Come Sunday, The Yeti  

Weakness: None


Charleston, South Carolina based Jazz Pianist/Keyboardist just released his second CD entitled Collage on 2012. Trio consists of Jordan Gravel (Piano), Ron Wiltroaut (Drums), and Jeremy Wolf (Bass), Gravel has been making quite a name for himself within the region not only for his live performances but for his music as well. 

The CD wastes no time getting off the ground with “The Yeti” an intoxicating intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. As expected this first piece serves up an impressive Gold Standard Jazz groove against a dynamic bass/drum rhythm section. The CD makes a great first impression and literally grabs your attention with its smooth musical flow. As the title implies Track 2 “Come Sunday” shifts gears with it’s smooth as silk groove with an impressive combination of Jazz and R&B playing styles against well placed rhythm section. Track 3 “Kids” downshifts a bit wit a more marketable statement that serves up methodical intro that evolves into a heartfelt melody. The CD makes a great first impression providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of classic Vince Guaraldi, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington and even George Duke. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the pieces fill the sonic space with all the attributes of classic free form jazz. This Trio spot on and provides everything you would expect in the way of musical peak and valley with music that is extremely dynamic and entertaining. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments showcasing Gold Standard playing, performing and songwriting. What’s even more impressive is how well all these players share the sonic space with each other yet allowing for much in the way of musical freedom. As a listener I was entertained the entire time. As for Gravel he is a world class musician, writer and performer. He is clearly a marquee Jazz talent within the Charleston area. From grooving “Bill’s Bill” to enchanting “Isobel” to my personal favorite Beatrice” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 8 “SOS” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

I normally dedicated this paragraph to weaknesses found. As you can see I have nothing worthwhile to report. 

After spending some time with Jordon Gravel it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and impressed with the production as a whole. This trio clearly knows how to play their instruments and together they are a well-oiled jazz-machine. Make no bones about it these are world class grooves and these cats can play Jazz the way it was meant to be played. Collage is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The musicianship is first-rate, the songs are dynamic and passionate. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing abilities of Jordon Gravel and his Jazz Trio are tantalizing and amazing. Sure to keep you fully entertained well into an enchanted evening.

Cyrus Rhodes