Rob Crozier Jazz Ensemble
Ocean Blue CD Release!
“Rob Crozier is an excellent jazz bassist who leads his Jazz Ensemble in Michigan, performing at clubs and festivals. Following on the success of their previous Tall Trees CD, Ocean Blue is his band’s latest release.
Ocean Blue features the core quintet of bassist Crozier (who also plays the didgeridoo), Rafael Statin on tenor, soprano, bass clarinet and oboe, pianist-keyboardist Keaton Royer, drummer Rob Avsharian, and percussionist Aron Kaufman along with a few guests. They perform nine originals that cover a wide range of styles and moods.
The program opens with Terry Jackson reading a brief poem on “Water’ over a bass pattern. The band then performs an augmented blues with fine solos by keyboardist Keaton Royer and Statin on soprano before Jackson returns for another short talk about the importance of water.
“R Is For Richko” is a particularly excellent introduction to the band, an uptempo minor-toned blues that has adventurous solos from Statin on soprano, pianist Royer and the leader. “Equal Night” is a moody jazz waltz that showcases Statin’s bass clarinet; his tone recalls Eric Dolphy at times. The passionate “Autumn Moon,” which has a mysterious feel throughout, features Statin’s soprano and Kelly McDermott’s flute interacting closely with each other
The second half of the set begins with “H.O.M.E.S,” a menacing strut that is highlighted by Statin’s intense tenor playing. He switches to oboe for “Water Snakes,” a fairly free exploration that is full of atmosphere. The straight ahead “Keaton’s Blues” sometimes finds the soloists (tenor, bass, piano and drums) venturing a bit outside. The fast jazz waltz ‘Ocean Blue” has a haunting melody and an attractive blend by Ms. McDermott’s flute and Brian Brilll’s keyboard (whose synth work is featured on three numbers). The memorable set concludes with the funky “Into The Gloaming” which includes a vocal by Emma McDermott (who wrote the lyrics) and a soulful solo from Royer.
Ocean Blue holds one’s interest throughout and has no slow moments. It makes one want to see Rob Crozier’s Jazz Ensemble live but, for those of us who live a distance from Michigan, this enjoyable recording will suffice for now.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian
The Rob Crozier Jazz Ensemble has established itself as one of Michigan's premiere jazz ensembles. After great reception at the 2018 Elkhart Jazz Festival (IN) and West Michigan Wine and Jazz Festival this fine group has continued to wow audiences with feature performances at the charming Mayflower Music Series in Detroit and at their regular engagements at Weber's Habitat every Sunday night.
Upcoming CD Release Shows!
November 16th @ Kerrytown Concert House
The brand new CD "Ocean Blue" will uncover bold new works by Crozier which span from modern swing to vintage funk. See the band live at it's eagerly awaited Kerrytown Concert House event on November 16th, 2018 where the CD "Ocean Blue" will officially be released for purchase!
Rob Crozier - basses, didgeridoo, percussion
Rafael Statin - reeds
Keaton Royer - keys
Rob Avsharian - drums
wsg/Kelly McDermott - flute
Aron Kaufman - congas
December 30th @ Cliff Bell's (Detroit)
January 4th @ Lula's (Owosso)
February 6th-9th @ The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe (Grosse Pointe)