Bassist Greg Loughman has gotten around. He has performed with emerging stars of Jazz including Yoko Miwa and established names like Hal Galper. He has performed at all the storied venues you would care to name and has established himself as a first-call bassist in the Boston Jazz scene while also setting himself apart as a composer.
Having performed and recorded with the Man on Land trio, Greg has also released albums under his own name and Re:Connection is his latest release. The title is a nice double entendre of reconnection and regarding (Re:) connection.
With Loughman are Nathan Kay – Trumpet, Dan Elbert - Alto Saxophone, Anton Derevyenko - Tenor Saxophone, Matt Stubbs - clarinet and bass clarinet, Anastassiya Petrova – piano, Tyson Jackson – drums, Nadia Washington – vocals, Faris Ishaq - Nay, Jerry Leake – percussion, and Max O’Rourke - guitar, sounds.
Loughman wrote six of the seven tracks on the album with the first track, Disunion, being a traditional song from the Civil War. Loughman reimagined the song as a discussion of a fragmented nation along the lines of race, politics, and economics. It starts with the solo bass before being joined by piano and drums. Then the other artists bring aboard their own voices amidst a military rhythm that connotes the sharp divisions between strident militarism and hopeful egalitarianism. The divisions couldn’t be sharper.
Isolation is an exploration into the theme of social aloneness. The bass carries the theme of the individual in solitude, even amidst the crowded life of the city. The horns contribute to the stark echo of isolation. The album is quickly recognized as being as much a sociological statement as it is a Jazz excursion. Throughout the noise, resounds the bassline heartbeat of the individual where individualism loses the meaning of the self in isolation. As C.G. Jung explained, we become our true self in the presence of others. Isolation defeats that.
From All Sides is the eruption of anger from the disunion and isolation. The outward and inward loathing decrees violence and self-destruction, despair and addiction. The horns carry the mood extremely well with staggering acuteness. This gives way to Transition and the outward interactions that lead to hope and honest self-reflection and the desire—even need—for community, the Gemeinschaft. Transition is carried by the bass, bowed and plucked, in a mindfulness that reaches deep.
Grow is a beautiful exposition on integration within the self and the community—community of musicians, neighbors, anything. Interaction within the artists on this piece is sincere and moving. The piano gets some of the most touching moments and the horns add a warmth where, in Isolation, there was stark coldness. Home continues the warmth and connection as expressed between piano and bass. Home may be my favorite track on the album.
The album concludes with Horizons and is exactly what you would imagine. A much-needed vision of a bright future built on the love and respect of community. The flute, trumpet, piano, bass, drums, and all weave a united (but not uniform) and tender fabric of cooperation and understanding.
Greg Loughman’s Re:Connection is indeed regarding connection and about re-establishing connection. It is hopeful, self-aware, self-critical, and full of tenderness and love.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl
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