By Dustin Krcatovich | Published July 2020
There always will be a notion of jazz as a warm, nostalgic blanket. And for the cohort with that mentality, bassist George DeLancey’s Paradise should hit the spot. There are no nods to the form’s outer limits or the decades of evolution since the dawn of cool jazz and hard-bop. It feels like something that’s been trapped in amber. If you take it for what it is, though, Paradise is a well-executed affair, with no shortage of indelible melodies. Half the album is populated by DeLancey originals, and while he’s yet to distinguish himself as a singular voice, the bassist shows himself to have decent taste: As a composer, he leans toward carefully arranged ballads, with “To Another Girl” and “Alone Time” owing a debt to Gil Evans’ sumptuous arranging. The band’s take on other composers’ work is risk-averse, too, but expertly done. The Modern Jazz Quartet waltz “Skating In Central Park” wafts by with just the right touch of melancholy, aided by pianist Tadataka Unno’s delicate touch. If DeLancey and his band are committed to older forms, let it be said that they go all the way. Paradise is clear and crisp, and while there are no real surprises, it’d be hard to deny that DeLancey has accomplished his goal.
Paradise: Paradise; Bohemia After Dark; To Another Girl; Skating In Central Park; Alone Time; Locomotive; While I Was Away; All The Things You Are. (32:01)
Personnel: George DeLancey, bass; Caleb Wheeler Curtis, alto saxophone; Jonathan Beshay, tenor saxophone, clarinet (4); Tony Lustig, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone (1); Mike Sailors, trumpet, flugelhorn; Robert Edwards, trombone; Tadataka Unno, piano; Lawrence Leathers, drums; Tatum Greenblatt, trumpet (8); Ray Cetta, tuba (8).