L-R: Matt Clohesy, Travis Reuter, Kush Abadey, David Weiss, Ben Eunson, Myron Walden. Photo by Deneka Peniston.

Trumpeter David Weiss‘s Point of Departure band will release their fourth album in February 2017, via the Ropeadope label. The group previously made two live albums—Snuck Out and Snuck In—for Sunnyside, and a studio disc, Venture Inward, on Posi-Tone. On those releases, the lineup included Weiss, saxophonist JD Allen, guitarist Nir Felder, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Jamire Williams. On the new album, the band has been almost entirely revamped; Myron Walden is now the saxophonist and Kush Abadey the drummer, and there are two guitarists, Ben Eunson and Travis Reuter. This comes closer to Weiss’s original concept for the group, which was partly inspired by his time playing with the legendary Haitian band Tabou Combo. (Allen and Felder also appear on three tracks on the new album.)

Point of Departure‘s other primary inspiration is the “inside-outside” era of jazz, when brilliant players were expanding the parameters of acoustic jazz immediately prior to the beginnings of fusion. Their three previous albums have featured interpretations of Herbie Hancock‘s “I Have a Dream” (from The Prisoner); Tony Williams‘ “Black Comedy” and Wayne Shorter‘s “Paraphernalia” (from the Miles Davis album Miles in the Sky); Andrew Hill‘s “Erato” and “Pax” (from Pax), and “Venture Inward” (from Grass Roots); Charles Tolliver‘s “Revillot” (from Jackie McLean‘s It’s Time!); and several compositions by Charles Moore, trumpeter for the largely unsung Detroit band Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet. (Their two Blue Note albums were compiled on a single CD some years ago; it’s worth your time, if you can find it.) The upcoming album will include versions of pieces by Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Brazilian fusion group Grupo Um, which implies that they’re evolving in a direction which will be interesting to hear. They’ve also recorded a version of Wayne Shorter‘s “Two Faced” (originally from Miles Davis‘s Water Babies), and you can watch a video for that below.

Phil Freeman

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