Boundless, the debut record by the jazz septet of the same names sounds like many other modern jazz projects to come out in the past few years. But that isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it’s an accomplishment for three young composers Zach Rich, Matteo Sabattini and Joey LeClerc (as well as Daniel Thompson, who penned “Down”) all of whom are either recent alumni or current students from the University of Northern Colorado’s jazz program.
The album opens with a haunting piano riff on Rich’s composition “Sleepless Nights,” courtesy of pianist Sopon Suwannakit, complemented by tenderly played horn melodies. The track follows an abnormal song form filled with unique interludes between solo sections, groove changes, and melodies that don’t repeat. The introductory piano riff does come back, but where you would expect the original horn melody to follow suit, Sarute Wijitwechakarn’s drum solo hits instead.
The septet’s solos offer what feels like contributions to a conversation, as opposed to overbearing shredding. Saxophonist / composer Joey LeClerc lets his solo in “Sunder” breathe; even when he builds momentum, the lines feel more earnestly emotional than spotlight-stealers.
Guitarist Adam Wissman, a feature guitarist in several funk and rock acts in the Northern Colorado scene, retains yet adapts his voice on this album. In “Sleepless Nights,” he has a rock edge to his tone, while his licks and melodies belong to cool jazz.
Boundless’s self-titled places a heavy emphasis on the orchestration and arrangement of each track. “Footprints” features polyphonic horn lines that weave in and out of the foreground and background. Paired with the five rhythm section players, the tight orchestration becomes a necessity for the pieces to retain clarity.
Many professional jazz albums contain elements like these, some just as good or better. But this album depicts three composers who aren’t bound to the obligations of school to produce quality jazz.
The self-titled album from Boundless is available directly through the band at their live performances and will stream on all platforms in early 2020! For now, visit facebook.com/boundlessmodernjazzseptet