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A member of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman's band Five Elements, this is the debut album from a trumpeter widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with confidence and great skill.

Finlayson, Jonathan & Sicilian Defense
Moment and the Message

Finlayson, Jonathan & Sicilian Defense: Moment and the Message (Pi Recordings)
Label: Pi Recordings    
Released in: USA    

"Moment and the Message is the long-awaited debut from Jonathan Finlayson, one of the most sought after young trumpeters in jazz. A member of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman's band Five Elements, Finlayson is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. In just the last four years, his playing has been featured on an astonishing three albums that were named #1 album of the year by The New York Times: alto saxophonist Steve Lehman's Travail, Transformation and Flow (Pi 2009), Steve Coleman and Five Elements' Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi 2010) and David Virelles's Continuum (Pi 2012).

Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Cecil Bridgewater.

Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. "Jonathan's always had a lot of music in him; he was one of these prodigy cats" Coleman says. "I think I may have first heard him play when he was about 13 years old and then again in 2000, during a workshop that I gave at Berkeley High School, when I also met (trumpeter) Ambrose Akinmusire. I was impressed with what they could do, so Jonathan and Ambrose began coming by my crib to discuss music, to work on music theory and study history. I then called Jonathan for a week-long gig in Chicago later that year, and we've been playing together ever since."

Finlayson's own challenging music operates in some of the same rhythmically complex terrain as Coleman's, but is distinguished by its puzzle-like musical forms. An avid chess player, Finlayson named his band Sicilian Defense after the oft-used chess opening move, and there is a sense of deductive logic to many of his compositions. For example, "Ruy Lopez" is a musical transcription of the first eight moves of the popular chess opening. The improvisations also reflect that of a game of chess, where the back and forth dialogue between the two soloists mimic the moves and countermoves of two chess players. The piece "Circus" draws on a childhood memory that is informed by the music of the Henry Threadgill, with whom Finlayson performed in Threadgill's premier of his piece "Dimples" in 2012. "Tensegrity" is a study in counterpoint that is harmonically reminiscent of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach."-Pi

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Product Information:

UPC: 808713004823

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PI 48
Squidco Product Code: 17666

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Brooklyn Recording, Brooklyn on September 23rd, 2012 by Andy Taub.


Jonathan Finlayson-trumpet

Miles Okazaki-guitars

David Virelles-piano

Keith Witty-bass

Damiob Reid-drums

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Track Listing:

1. Circus 7:42

2. Lo Haze 7:54

3. Ruy Lopez 5:43

4. Carthage 7:10

5. Tensegrity 5:37

6. Le Bas-Fond 5:56

7. Tyre 4:14

8. Fives And Pennies 12:40

9. Scaean Gates 6:07