John Jeffrey, the drummer of Moon Duo, let the spirit of improvisation move him from one sonic extreme to the next on his new solo record, Passage.
From minimalist cosmic jazz to synth-centered motorik beat meditations, Jeffrey explores a vast spectrum of styles and sounds that interest him and shows just how versatile of a musician he really is.
On “Lonely Years,” reverb-soaked pedal steel guitars create melty waves of peaceful ambience on top of a very laidback beat. Meanwhile, as I said in a recent Roundup post, the next track, “Leaving Franklin,” features restrained guitars, icy keyboard drones and cool vibraphone trills, all floating around a looping funk groove. If you could imagine what it would sound like to have Mike Ratledge jamming with Mute Duo, then you’d get a pretty good idea of this track.
The third piece, “Play it as it Lays,” combines the steel guitar spacey Americana of “Lonely Years,” and blends it with a synthesizer-rich proggy jazz-rock fusion vibe. Across its ten and a half minutes, you feel as though you’re launched into the stars, and brought back down again into the rural outskirts of a place like Nashville.
The final song, “Pacific Calm,” leans heavily into the astral jazz territory of “In a Silent Way,” with its focus on subtly echoing vibes and rippling glassy keyboard passages. A calming close to an already very relaxing record.
If you don’t feel like you’re drifting out beyond the solar system by the end of Passage, then you’re not listening to it right. Close off all distractions, throw this album on loop, and you’ll be lifted off this earth in no time.
From cosmic Americana music to ambient and spiritual jazz, this is an impressive mix of often disparate sounds and yet, it’s a delightful and soothing listen.
This record comes out today, so be sure to click here to get yours now.