Nexus Music, Vol 1 [EP]
(2019 - Orenda Records - USA)
This wastes no time kicking into high gear on the opening cut, giving the listener a chunk of tightly wound syncopation, swing in high octave, and big band on a floating apparition with silver splashes all around. With the first composition ('Reveille'), you are left with zero doubt of how great every member of this remarkable outfit of a new big band era are, including a terrific drum solo and fiery lead guitar. Although this number was originally conceived while at residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, with his L.A. Signal Lab new music collective, and under an early morning meditative writing session, while gazing at green pastures in New Hampshire, the work somehow translated into this hyper precise and titillating blowout.
'Refugio' (track 2) slows things down and reveals the band's ability to swing and produce the emotional side of a great reflective piece. And this one really did keep it's meditative quality, despite the fact that it was inspired by an ecological disaster (oil spill) of California Central Coast Beach. The 3rd piece 'Asceria', showcases a combination of what tracks 1 and 2 feature, with a bonus of more delicate parts, featuring Christian Tamburr on some wonderfully mellow vibraphone. A beautiful breezy, yet complex palette of earth tones, colliding with rainbow colors.
This San Francisco Bay area resident, now living in Los Angeles, studied music composition at UCLA, completing his M.A. in 2015. Nick Depinna is a young but well seasoned educated composer, trombonist, and engineer with a wide variety of accomplishments under his belt, including television scores for 20/20, General Hospital, Superhuman, and many more. He has also done music for many short films, documentaries, and feature films (such as 'Chainsmoke' - 2008). His experience as both composer and performer are impressive. He toured with Brian Setzer Orchestra, performed with Christina Rusnak, Kenny Burrell, to just name a few. His skills also lie in mixing and his discography is varied and extensive. This is his 4th release [one as Ross Garren and Nick DePinna 'Expansions on Solo Piano' (2011), as producer/ another under the band Nova 'Periapsis' (2011) as producer, composer, and performer/ one under his project LA Signal Lab 'Whisper and Howl' (2015) as producer, composer, and performer/ and this newest as his solo Nick DePinna 'Nexus Music, Volume 1' (2019) as primary artist. The line up on 'Nexus Music, Vol 1' is : trombone - Nick DePinna/ saxophones - Dan Kaneyuki, Hitomi Oba, & Tim McKay/ trumpets - James Blackwell, Tom Terrell, & Noah Meites/ vibraphone - Christian Tamburr (track 3)/ guitar - Brady Cohan (track 1), and Brandon Bae (tracks 2,3)/ piano and keyboards - Ross Garren/ bass - Tim Lefebvre (track 1), Noah Garabedian (tracks 2,3)/ drums - Jake Reed (tracks 1,3) and Michael Lindsay (track 2)/ and on percussion - Roland Gajate-Garcia (track 1). All music composed over a number of years and at various stages of Depinna's career so far
It may be short, with three compositions clocking in at a total of only 19:06, but the quality of the music is extremely high, and the taste of what might be expected on Vol 2, is now planted in my head. 'Nexus Music, Vol 1' is not only a treasure trove, but a recording of stature, and importance to anyone who loves ensemble jazz. A rewarding EP and one that makes you look forward to the next one by this multi talented artist. RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 5 - 24 - 2019