New Lineup Features Weiss on Trumpet & Fender Rhodes,
Guitarists Ben Eunson, Travis Reuter & Nir Felder,
Saxophonists Myron Walden & JD Allen,
Bassist Matt Clohesy and Drummer Kush Abadey
Album Features Weiss’ Arrangements Lesser Known Early Fusion Compositions Including Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Sanctuary,”
Wayne Shorter’s “Two Faced,” Joe Henderson’s “Gazelle,” and
Tony Williams’ “The Mystic Knights of The Sea“
Trumpeter David Weiss and his revamped Point of Departure ensemble recently signed a deal with Ropeadope and will release their first album with the new configuration of the band February 17, 2017.
Point of Departure was conceived in earnest in 2006 as a result of Weiss’s regular Thursday night residency at the Greenwich Village club, Fat Cat. The regular gig provided Weiss the opportunity to try out many up-and-coming musicians on the scene, in various combinations. By the end of the six-month run, Weiss felt he had a fully realized a new band with a unique sound and approach; a harmonically adventurous ensemble with more of a free approach to the music, with the capability to switch grooves from swing to funk to rock in different time signatures on a dime. Weiss and Point of Departure focus on re-examining the work of musicians of that time including often lesser-known repertory works by Andrew Hill, Joe Henderson, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, and music from the unsung Kenny Cox & the Contemporary Jazz Quintet, ultimately giving credence to an unheralded and misunderstood era in jazz – filled with music that brought myriad influences and sounds into new, unchartered territory.
Drawing influence from the paradoxical nature of the simple yet complex music of that time, Point of Departure offers an inventive sound that is “abstract, mysterious and aggressive” (Detroit Free Press) and brilliantly toys with the “style and repertory of 1960s postbop, with contemporary urgency” (New York Times). The band has released three records to date, two of which were recorded with Sunnyside Records with the third release on Posi-Tone Records. Their fourth album will be released in February on Ropeadope, a label that represents the cutting edge of jazz and fusion today.
Partly inspired by his work with the Haitian Kompa supergroup, Tabou Combo, Weiss chose to implement a distinctive two-guitar sound on this new record. Two new startlingly impressive young guitarists, Ben Eunson and Travis Reuter, not only accomplished Weiss’s vision of an intimate two-guitar sound, but also serve to transform the group’s energy as a cohesive element that ties the group’s sounds into one riveting and poignant force. The new record also features original PoD members guitarist Nir Felder and tenor saxophonist JD Allen on three tracks; a coda of sorts to their long tenure with the band and completing some unfinished business in that version of the band’s evolution. The bulk of the record addresses the new version of the band. Matt Clohesy, the one holdover from the old group, anchors the group’s sound on bass, Myron Walden is on tenor sax and newcomer Kush Abadey on drums, whom Weiss scouted early on and rhythmically drives the group to uphold their fresh and charged sensation. Point of Departure’s new album stretches the parameters of the original group concept by adding material from the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Brazilian avant-garde fusion band Grupo Um.
Point of Departure captivates audiences everywhere with their signature “pulse-quickening live set” noted to feel as “sharp and potent as the quickening breeze from an approaching storm” (JazzTimes). The group has received critical acclaim for their unique and masterful balance of “higher levels of postbop slipperiness” while “staying away from too-obvious material” (New York Times). Their “spirited” and “glorious” music is widely celebrated as an experience that is “emotionally engaged on a deep level” (The Arts Desk). As critic Nate Chinen of the New York Times contends, Point of Departure “addresses this music with an air of feverish discovery, and only the most permissive sort of reverence.”
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