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Guiliana Returns Home on 'Jersey'

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Friday September 08, 2017

From DownBeat

Music Preview: Guiliana Returns Home on ‘Jersey’

As both leader and collaborator, the versatile drummer Mark Guiliana spends much of his time exploring jazz’s fascinating fringes, producing some of his best music in the place where EDM and free-improv intersect.

He first rose to prominence as a member of bassist Avishai Cohen’s trio, in which he contributed deft yet highly emotive drum work to acclaimed albums such as Lyla (2003) and Gently Disturbed (2008). Later, as the leader of the jazz trio Heernt, Guiliana released Locked In The Basement, which found him pivoting toward a style he called “experimental-garage-jazz.”

With 2010’s Beat Music, Guiliana honed in on a crisp and intelligent electro-jazz sound that would become an integral facet of his jazz identity, one that he would develop further alongside pianist Brad Mehldau on 2014’s Mehliana: Taming The Dragon. And in 2016, he famously served as the drummer for the backing band on David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, in a combo led by tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin.

With his latest album, Guiliana returns home—in more ways than one. Due out Sept. 29 on the Motéma label, Jersey finds the drummer at the helm of a straightahead jazz quartet featuring saxophonist Jason Rigby, pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Chris Morrissey. What’s more, the program presents original music by Guiliana and his collaborators in an entirely acoustic environment, a tactic that, for Guiliana, presented both opportunities and obstacles.

“For the band, this lineup presents the challenge: How creative can we be inside this box?” said Guiliana in a press statement. “How much freedom and experimentation can we find? … I have to say that it’s always so exciting to hear the guys play this music in ways I never could have imagined.”

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