Ryan Meagher guitar (quintet) – Tango in the City of Roses [TrackList follows] – PJCE Records

Ryan Meagher, guitar (quintet) – Tango in the City of Roses [TrackList follows] – PJCE Records 010 ****:

(Ryan Meagher, guitar; George Colligan, piano; Peter Epstein, sop. & alto sax; Matt Mayhall, drums; Chris Higgins, bass)

This is a new release from one of the several recent transplants from the New York City scene to Portland OR. The guitarist started running a weekly “jazz composers’ jam” almost the minute he arrive here. Now he holds the guitar chair in the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble, which has put out this CD. The grassroots non-profit operates a 12-piece ensemble and commissions and performs new music by local composers, with all rights going to the individual artists. Their goal is to release one live session per CD, a common practice in jazz history, and to encourage a rapid turnaround of the CD, to enhance the jazz community, and improvising musicians around the Portland area.

This CD was recorded live at Ivories Jazz Lounge in NW Portland. Four of the five musicians have lived in NYC and yet have strong ties to Portland. All seven compositions here are by Ryan Meagher. Some, such as “Greenwood” and “College Town Blues” are around the ten-minute mark. Only the title tune has a bit of the tango feel to it, but I understand the album’s title. There’s a lot of people nuts about the tango here in Portland, and inserting modern jazz into that interest is a natural. The tunes are interesting and the band sounds very together. The live recording situation seems to add to the realism of the sonics; the audience certainly sounds appreciative.


Walther’s Pond 09:02
Hard Times 07:54
Empty Spirits 08:33
Greenwood 09:55
Tango in the city of Roses 09:02
Elle’s Lullaby 08:35
College Town Blues 10:22

—John Henry


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