Jazz bassist/composer John Menegon forged his career as a sideman, working with leaders on the order of Dewey Redman, David “Fathead” Newman and, more recently, the great modern jazz tenor saxophonist and frequent John Scofield foil Joe Lovano. In his own work as leader/composer, Menegon has developed a distinctive, rhythmically eventful voice, fully in evidence on his well-received 2014 release (his fourth), I Remember You.
The record reveals Menegon as an ambitious jazz writer. The grooves are complex and continuously shifting, the lines oblique and intricate, the song forms non-traditional and shot through with ingeniously integrated ensemble improvisations. Menegon is anything but complacent about the head/solo/solo/solo/head inherited forms of jazz; and yet soul-leaning, groove-oriented, harmonically advanced modern jazz is his idiom, unabashedly. Like all great bassists, Menegon is an expert traffic director, operating masterfully at the intersection of rhythm, melody and harmony. If more people were attending contemporary mainstream jazz these days, this exceptional record would be commanding a lot of attention and honor.
John Menegon leads a new ensemble, the Look Up Sextet +1, into the Studley Theatre on the campus of SUNY-New Paltz on Tuesday, March 15 at 8 p.m. In a move consistent with the leader’s propulsive compositional style, this novel ensemble includes two drummers (Beacon’s standout Dave Berger and Tcheser Holmes) as well as SUNY-New Paltz faculty member and multi-genre guitar wiz Mark Dziuba, alto saxophonist Travis Sullivan and trumpeter Chris Pasin. The +1 is Menegon’s longtime collaborator, vocalist and keyboardist Teri Roiger, who will accompany the Look Up Sextet on this date.
Admission costs $10 general, $6 for seniors and $3 for students. For more information on John Menegon, visit www.johnmenegon.com.
John Menegon’s Look Up Sextet +1, Tuesday, March 15, 8 p.m., $10/$6/$3, Studley Theatre, Old Main Building, SUNY-New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz.