The natural

By JON GARELICK  |  May 31, 2006

Brookmeyer, meanwhile, is featured on two tracks from Torchsongs. Their contrapuntal improv over the rhythm section on Udden’s “Marin” and the minute-forty-four unaccompanied album-closing duet, “Afterthought” are album highlights. “He has the most amazing sound in the world,” says Udden of Brookmeyer, “and his time is amazing. He’s all melodies, a total melody player.”

Udden, who plays a CD-release show at the Lily Pad on June 4, covers a lot of ground — boppish swing on originals like “Every Step” and “Tut Muffin,” out-there excursions on “Blinks,” a classic sax-bass-drums blowout on “Loaded.” And, after the swinging acoustic-jazz openers, the album takes a sharp left turn on “Fish Lake” with two electric guitars (Tim Miller and Ben Monder) and Fender Rhodes keyboard (Leo Genovese). With its broad, majestic guitar chords and emphatic backbeat, it’s one of the album’s standouts.

“A lot of jazz albums are recorded in one day or something. But obviously on Torchsongs the band changes on every tune. I had the freedom of not having a working band, so I just thought on each song, ‘What would sound the best?’ ”

The two jazz albums that Udden cites as models are Joe Henderson’s Lush Life and Joe Lovano’s Rush Hour — the equivalent of jazz concept albums. “But I wasn’t listening to those when I did this. I was listening to rock records like Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Beck’s Sea Change. I suppose ‘Fish Lake’ is the most Beck-like. I’m still holding a saxophone, but it’s got more layers — guitars and Rhodes and saxophones fading in and out. There’s no saxophone solo on it because I didn’t want one.”

ESPERANZA SPALDING | Tuesdays, 8 pm | Bob’s Southern Bistro, 604 Columbus Ave, Boston | 617.375.8129 | Ryles, 212 Hampshire St, Cambridge | June 8 | 617.876.9330 | JEREMY UDDEN | June 4 | The Lily Pad, 1355 Cambridge St, Cambridge | 7 pm | 617.489.6561

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