Frailty can be deceptive. Something’s perceived weakness could in fact wield some hidden strength, forged from withstanding the elements. Like an insect’s exoskeleton, eggshells, or a Brooklyn-based jazz quintet, sometimes frailty is the start of something more. This strength in frailty seems to be a driving factor in the sound behind GADADU.
The key here is in Hannah Selin at the fore. Her vocals and lilting viola nail this sound down as “yet another group from Brooklyn”. Their music initially appears to go off in odd directions, the chords this group play are weirdly divergent. Everything about this sound seems just a step away from that shade of jazz so abstract where one must ask “who really enjoys this anyway?”. However, the beat here remains consistent. These notes still manage to work. There’s some head nodding that can steadily creep in. The choruses are weirdly catchy. This group works.
What results is a strong quintet, hiding their strength in their odd compositions melded with their grounding arrangements. A sound that seems initially fragile, with songs that turn in unexpected but welcome places, that reward repeat listens for the sake of being enveloped in something so fresh, is something to behold. Pat Adams’ trumpet soars over these songs like a bird majestically in the air. Nicki Adams’ work on the keys comps exquisitely, and his vocals counter Selin’s adeptly. Dan Stein on bass holds everything down well, and Moses Eder’s percussion provides the beat that truly makes And I See Night the enjoyable album, complete with the every crucial groove element, that ties this group together. As a quintet, GADADU rises to an entirely different level. They’re a band that truly sounds great together executing these ideas.
With a sound like this, it’s easy to dismiss a group of this ilk. They’re a quintet from Brooklyn playing somewhat dissonant jazz music which includes a cello. The desire to cast shade is strong, but that frailty that one perceives in a group like this is indeed just that– perceived. It’s something to surpass to find the interesting creations that this quintet can produce. And I See Night is a surprise from a group of musicians that one could see coming except in all the ways that one couldn’t. The concealing nature of perceived frailty can do that.
Hannah Selin – vocals, viola
Nicki Adams – keys, vocals
Pat Adams – trumpet
Dan Stein – double bass
Moses Eder – drums, percussion
Mixed & Mastered by Hannah Selin
Recorded at 5B in Harlem
All songs composed & arranged by Nicki Adams and Hannah Selin
℗ and © 2015 for tracks 1, 3, 7 – Hannah Selin (ASCAP)
℗ and © 2015 for tracks 2, 4-6, 8 – Nicki Adams (ASCAP)
Design by Alexandra Bourget
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.