A Profound Listening Experience
Guitarist Tom Ollendorff’s new album, Open House, his second solo release, leaves listeners craving more after the nine tracks come to an end. The album features a variety of original tunes, alongside bebop classics like “Bongo Beep” and “Airegin,” as well as the famous ballad “My Foolish Heart.” The band’s lineup includes Marc Michel on drums, Conor Chaplin on bass, and New York-based tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel on four of the tracks. Ollendorff’s compositional skill shines throughout the album, as he creates captivating melodies and engaging forms with unexpected twists.
Standout Tracks and Performances
“Three Bridges” captivates listeners with its catchy and melodic motif, driven by the steady bass and drums. The melody, reminiscent of Pat Metheny, flows effortlessly, while Wendel’s saxophone adds excitement to the piece. The track concludes with an extended coda and a soaring performance by Wendel. “Passing Ships,” a gentle lullaby-like melody, showcases the trio’s ability to convey a sense of wistfulness that gradually transforms into a darker, more intense atmosphere. The song’s closing moments become choppy and brooding under Wendel’s expert hands.
“Carnival” is another bright and engaging track, featuring a bustling groove and Chaplin’s expressive bass lines. The band transitions into a softer, exultant samba feel under Ollendorff’s guitar, as he skillfully layers arpeggios and darting melodic flurries to build a captivating and well-paced solo. The album’s renditions of “Bongo Beep” and “Airegin” maintain a blistering tempo without feeling rushed, allowing drummer Michel to showcase his talents with flair and finesse.
Extensive Touring and A Cohesive Sound
Ollendorff and his band have toured extensively together, which might explain the sense of ease and expressiveness that pervades the album. This tight-knit group has honed their sound and developed a strong musical connection, which is evident in the music’s natural flow and organic interactions. Open House is a truly exceptional offering for jazz fans, and seeking out a copy is highly recommended.
To purchase the album or learn more about Tom Ollendorff, visit Fresh Sound Records.