‘Resonance’ is the recording debut as a leader of drummer Dave Rudolph, who is based in Tampa, Florida. Rudolph is a veteran of the local scene for the last 25 years and is also currently the Professor of Contemporary Percussion at the University of Tampa. Inspired by his close friend Jessica Hiltabidle, who passed away recently, he realized that he was long overdue to record his own music. He has brought together a band of local musicians to bring his dream to reality, namely tenor-saxophonist Zach Bornheimer, guitarist LaRue Nickelson, pianist Pablo Arencibia and bassist Alejandro Arenas and together they perform nine of Rudolph’s originals. These are all instrumental, apart from the title song where be brought in Whitney James to provide vocals.
This is an album which takes no work at all to relax into, and the very first time I played it I knew I was in for an enjoyable time. Some jazz albums are bloody hard work, some concentrate solely on the skills of those playing, while others honestly never seem to make any sense whatsoever and others are just too lounge to be at all enjoyable. None of that is the case here, as we are treated to a band who really do feel like a band. I wasn’t surprised to discover that Rudolph started on guitar before moving onto drums, as this really is a very melodic album, and not as heavily rhythmic as some where the leader is also the percussionist. Although they are a quintet it isn’t unusual for the band to be working as a trio, such as on “Lonely Train” where Arenas keeps it all together, Rudolph displays lots of different tricks and styles, and at the front we are treated to a masterclass in understatement from Nickelson who shows there really is no need to play 9000 notes to the bar if you have an affinity to what you are doing.
Fresh, full of space, full of class, this post-bop set is creative, enjoyable, and a damn fine listen.