The Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet | Callicoon Sessions | Cadence Jazz Records

Kazzrie Jaxen – piano | Charley Krachy – saxophone | Don Messina – bass | Bill Chattin – drums

All selections were recorded at Kazzrie Jaxen’s studio in Callicoon, NY between October 2009 and July 2011 by Don Messina, using one stereo microphone to DAT.

Special thanks to Bob Rusch, Joseph Squillante, James Farber, and Mary Gorrill. Recorded by Don Messina. Mastered by James Farber. Photography: Joseph Squillante. Design/Layout: Joseph Squillante & Jennifer Sowinski. Produced for Cadence Jazz Records by Bob Rusch

Tracklist: 1. What is this thing called Love? [8:55] 2. My Melancholy Baby [8:24] 3. My Foolish Heart [7:55] 4. You Stepped out of a Dream [3:24] 5. All of Me [8:18] 6. Foolin’ Myself [5:47] 7. Callicoon – The River – The Train (Jaxen/Krachy/Messina/Chattin, Don Messina BMI) [5:09] 8. S’ Wonderful [6:38] 9. All The Things You Are [9:01]


What? You’ve never heard of Kazzrie Jaxen?

Well you have but may not know it. She has been recording since 1979 but back then it was as Liz Gorrill and she did a number of releases on the Jazz Records and New Artists labels over a twenty year period. I know those recordings but I’ve never heard her as she is here. Why someone changes their name is often a many reasoned decision, but it would seem, coincidentally perhaps, that with that change came a new attack or addressing of her music – Viva la change! Here is a pianist with a strong, unequivocal attack, ideas in reserve which at times seemingly overflow themselves.

And Charley Krachy seems inspired in this company, he arguably has never sounded better on recording. And credit to Don Messina and Bill Chattin for the unwavering support they provide. This was not only an unexpected surprise but a damn pleasant one too. This is exciting music. – Bob Rusch


On a Saturday morning in 0ctober 2009

the four of us got together at Kazzrie’s studio in Callicoon, NY to play a jam session. We had a great time that day and decided to get together at least once a month. Don brought his Sony DAT recorder (with one stereo microphone) to every session, so we were able to listen to the music we were improvising at a later date. One of the very first tunes we played together was “Melancholy Baby,” track #2 on this CD.

We’ve continued to session once or twice a month for four years now, and have also begun performing together. This CD represents our first one and a half years of sessioning. The tracks were selected from recordings between October 2009 and July 2011. The sound varies slightly from track to track, capturing the relaxed and spontaneous nature of the sessions. We weren’t thnking about releasing any of this music when we created it. We were just getting together and playing, evolving as a group – both musically and personally – through the art of improvising. — Kazzrie, Charley, Don, and Bill


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One thought on “The Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet | Callicoon Sessions | Cadence Jazz Records

  1. The composer Dieter Schnebel’s innovative transcription of Schubert’s G-Major piano sonata includes a layer of harmonies, which, though not heard in the sonata, are present by implication. Pianist Kazzrie Jaxen’s treatment of standards on her new quartet disc employs similar complexities. The tunes are there, but Jaxen’s harmonies veil them in mystery while simultaneously illuminating them afresh via some of the most vital interpretations they have received in some time.

    Jaxen, tenor saxophonist Charley Krachy, bassist Don Messina and drummer Bill Chattin made these recordings over several years, straight to DAT and never intending to make an album from them; but as the group-penned liners make plain, they were aware of something special as the recordings were assembled. There is something ethereal and yet down-to-earth as old tunes are made new, as when, to delve into only one representative example, Jaxen, Krachy and Messina swing into “All the Things You Are,” Krachy and Messina in relaxed and flowing counterpoint during the head. Chattin’s entrance kicks the swing up to the next level, glittering cymbals and perfectly-timed snare punctuations serving to place rock-solid bass drum and hi-hat in stark relief.

    Yet, none of this explains how the music lifts off and floats amidst Krachy’s altered tones and over Messina’s pizzicato double stops, amazing in and of themselves. Much of the freedom must come down to Jaxen’s voicings. Despite her prodigious harmonic language, her allegiance to what the others are doing is always evident and she’s not so much pushing beyond rhythmic boundaries as using them as points of departure and return. It is a joy to hear how she weaves fragments of “What Is This Thing Called Love”’s melody into a solo of huge dynamic and harmonic contrast, almost forming a language of varying densities as Messina and Chattin lay the groundwork.

    These recordings give new meaning to the words freedom and tradition, juxtaposing them in ways that render them useless. The recording is a no-nonsense audio portrait, leaving room for the playing to breathe and bloom. A great disc from an innovative ensemble.

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