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Getting Back to 7th Avenue South Toon Traveller digs into Jon Gordon's new time travel record

Getting Back to 7th Avenue South

Toon Traveller digs into Jon Gordon's new time travel record

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: May, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

The collection opens with 'Witness', beginning with a choir, accompanying the melody, and almost singing the wind and brass parts.

Jon Gordon cover artJON GORDON
7th Avenue South

Jon Gordon is a native New Yorker, a saxophonist and composer who has worked with legends like Maria Schneider, Ron McClure, Clark Terry, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, T.S. Monk, Aretha Franklin, Bill Mobley, Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Max Weinberg and wait... Oh so very many more besides. His album Stranger Than Fiction was nominated for a JUNO award for best jazz release of 2021.

Jon's new record, 7th Avenue South, embodies the spirit of one of jazz music's great arteries of the 80's, 7th Avenue in Greenwich Village, New York, and the clubs that lined it. That it's an indie release is not a great surprise. There's less and less money in Jazz since those days, despite all the regular 'Jazz revival hype'. 7th Avenue South, is as good as any finely crafted slice of modern contemporary Jazz, avant-garde crossover.

Jon GordonThe album features a stellar cast, including: tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, trombonist Alan Ferber, trumpeter Jon Challenor, bass clarinetist John Ellis, guitarist Jocelyn Gould, pianist Will Bonness, bassist Julian Bradford, drummer Fabio Rangnelliand vocalists Joanna Majokoand Erin Propp, along with a soaring choir on two tracks.

The collection opens with 'Witness', beginning with the choir accompanying the melody, and almost singing the wind and brass parts. A delightful preparation, a nodding throwback to 60's Coltrane, and 70's ECM's premier house sound. It's just great soundtrack to being, a sit, sip, and chill, as the day breaks, as you stretch out and wait to come alive. 7th Avenue South, strolls you to the metro, bus, subway, and another day on the pulsating, beating city streets; same faces, clothes, uniforms, strides, fears. All pass anonymously. Summer shadows on the doorway sleepers and sidewalk sitters. Ponder this; walking, moving? Are we aware of what are body is doing or distracted by the endpoint of our journey? Jon Gordon's soprano sax tenderly burbles brass loving notes of hope. Joy and warmth of Urban living, romanticized visions and cinematic memories. 


“Seventh Avenue South was the first place I ever heard live jazz in New York,” Jon Gordon recalls, still marveling at the iconic line-up that marked his first excursion into the jazz world. On one early incursion, he meekly approached Ron Carter, the legendary bassist for Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, to introduce himself. He laughs, “I felt like such an annoying little mosquito, but I was so honored to talk to him. Then Clark Terry sang [his signature tune] ‘Mumbles’ at the end of the night. For a 16-year-old kid it was thrilling.”

The paradox of Jazz is the magic; its complexity, its accessibility, its reality and its fantasy. A baritone and soprano marriage. Delicious percussion deftly played, an integral element of the soundscape, not thrashed, percussion is not melody's enemy, but floating sticks, brushed, and tenderly tapped. In Jazz, percussion's the soul sister, the stitches holding the woven house together, maintaining a cohesive whole.

7th Avenue South, is just a wonderful loving tribute to past Jazz times, a sample of what's possible with innovation, building on the shoulders of giants. Add the romantic soul we all have, too often sadly subsumed.  Here are the sounds of our hearts and souls, free to dream and hope, and stand in the light. The hopeful light this music represents.

essential information
Jon Gordon's website is here→
The label, Artistshare is here→

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»



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