Curtis Brothers Quartet "Syzygy" Reviewed in All about Jazz

Syzygy album cover

Curtis Brothers Quartet: Syzygy

by PAUL RAUCH
March 6, 2017 

Jazz music is constantly in a state of flux. It feeds off of new ideas and innovation to keep the music vital, and growing. The mantle is passed from generation to generation, eschewing the infective glare of pop notoriety to maintain the artistic presence that moves the music forward, now seventeen years into a new century. In jazz today, there is a groundswell of young musicians who understand this perspective, forging new paths into the future, while grounded in the traditions of the past. They possess the understanding of paying dues, of developing one's craft within the tenets of grand tradition, before making their own statements of innovation that define what jazz is today, and portends to be on the journey moving forward. This deep level of understanding and musical intelligence is what fuels musical insight, and original approach. 

There is a beacon of light emanating from New York City these days, that clearly illustrates this approach and subsequent innovative results, in the person(s), of the Curtis Brothers, bassist Luques, and pianist Zaccai. Originally hailing from Connecticut, the brothers began their musical journey at the Artist's Collective, under the auspices of NEA Jazz Master Jackie McLean. Before heading to New York City, the brothers honed their respective crafts in the Boston area, Luques at Berklee College of Music, and Zaccai at the New England Conservatory. Since that time, the brothers have become true go to players with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Gary Burton, Orrin Evans, Sean Jones, Brian Lynch, and Donald Harrison to name a few. They have recorded albums under the Curtis Brothers brand, including the brilliant Completion of Proof(Truth Revolution, 2012), and have created a recording collective, Truth Revolution Records, that has been producing albums of high quality for a few years now. The brothers have recently released a fabulous quartet album, Syzygy on that label, that brings to light their ability to combine their roots in bebop, hard bop, and latin, without a notion of being a hybrid, or fusion form. Indeed, it is spoken in one jazz commonality, one inventive dialect that is whole in itself. 

This album is not an effort to break down barriers, or forge into unknown territory, but a clear communicative statement of their own personal musical heritage within the jazz tradition. The music incorporates the blues, swings hard, and contains elements that speak to their music as being a confluence of jazz inroads that become a pathway for musical integration that speaks to itself as one. While many jazz artists these days refute what is undeniably the core root elements of the Afro-Caribbean-New Orleans tradition, Syzygy, blends blues harmonies with swing and latin rhythms, indeed all the classic elements of the jazz language, stating emphatically the vast amount of uncovered....READ MORE