CHALKED up REVIEWS
Ian Wardenski Quintet Collective Thoughts Review
Guitarist Ian Wardenski is no stranger to formal education. He began his journey at the tender age of 15 under the tutelage of John Lahovski, Peter Sittler, and Frank DiBussolo. During this time Wardenski attended the Creative Music Institute in Emmaus, Pa., where he studied music theory, composition, and improvisation. Wardenski graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, Ca., with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. In fall 2004, Wardenski received a Master of Music in Music Theory from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. Wardenski is the Chair of Performing Arts, and is an Associate Professor of Music at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD. Wardenski’s debut album, Collective Thoughts is a beautiful blend between the aesthetic of third stream and the rhythmic sensibilities of modern jazz. For his debut album, Wardenski collaborated with five outstanding musicians, Tim Powell (soprano and tenor sax), Jerry Ascione (piano), Amy Shook (bass), Frank Russo (drums) and Tamara Tucker (voice on selected tracks).
About the Album
There is a modernistic aesthetic to “Collective Thoughts,” the head features a torsion to its propulsion that is pure modern jazz at times, and at others a deeply felt traditional swing feel, skillfully blending era styles of jazz with a modern-day muscularity. The colors of Wardenski’s tone are that of an affected hollow body sound. His touch is agile, while is colorization has a transparent quality that floats wistfully atop the melody. Pianist Ascione creates a rhythmically based solo and each time the ensemble comes back together for the collective melody it’s a striking sound.
Our Favorite Track
Not to be missed is “Boccatos Influence,” Shook and Russo have played together for years and its easy to hear the rapport in their playing. Also, of note on this tune, is vocalist Tucker, along with Powell they create an eerily avant leaning ornamentation that allows Ascione and Wardenski to colorize in a melodic yet tense fashion making for an adventurous listen that stimulates the sense. This is certainly a go to cut on the album.
Wardenski has masterfully put together a collection of tunes that are strong in writing, execution and offer a thought-provoking listen. This guitarist also understands the right personnel to execute those ideas and breath life from paper to performance. Each musician on this album is a credit to Wardenski’s writing. Collective Thoughts is a stunning listen and offers a fresh outlook from a brilliant writer. This one is certainly a best of 2019 contender.