My taste in music is broader than my smile when I get to listen to new music. It stretches from Extreme Metal to Classical to Jazz, but sometimes I just don’t get on with a record and have to really search for something positive to say. This, unfortunately, is the case with Tessellations. The album is the latest product from the New Jersey-based jazz-rock power trio and after several listens, it said nothing to me other than being well produced and played. In short, this collection lacks warmth, humanity or soul.
Composer and bandleader Ray Suhy has assembled a trio of great musicians consisting of Suhy on guitar, 16-year-old Alex Silvergold on drums, and Rolando Alvarado on bass. The album consists of 10 instrumental tracks that drift in and out of entertaining and ultimately the songs bored me to tears. It is the type of music that tries very hard to be interesting but is largely an exercise in self-indulgence without any end product.
When I compare the music to recent releases from the like of the awesome Shumaun, they leave this behind, as the releases show heart as well as technical competence. Tessellations has great intentions but leaves the sense of melody, drama or power behind. I’m sure that it would fare better with vocals and a narrative, but as it stands, it loses the listener in a morass of minor chords and noodling guitar.
Make no mistake, the trio demonstrate absolutely top notch technical ability. Suhy plays guitar like a goliath and the bass playing of Alvarado is on the money. The drumming of teen titan Silvergold is exceptional with its dexterity and assurance. However, the record fails to make me want to listen to more of the same. I wanted to like it, I really did, but unfortunately, it is not my cup of tea.
It is difficult for me to be SO critical, but I do like songs that speak to me. When the album starts as tentatively as this one did with “Malachite Dream“, I get worried. Not one other tune sounds the bugle for life or love or rocking. It is over-thought and under cooked. Other songs that passed me by include “Svitani“, “Temporal Landrons” and “Perihelion“. If you like jazzy, spacey instrumentals, then this album is for you. If, on the other hand, you want something to rock with, my advice is to avoid at all costs.