After a successful debut album entitled "A Stitch in Time," Prigodich has now released a fascinating live album called "Life Upstaged." He has brought along the best of those musicians from that debut album, including the versatile John Nastos on sax, the riveting Damian Erskine on bass, the mesmerizing Rafael Trujillo on congas and the incomparable Reinhardt Melz on drums. It is a truly stellar band performing flawless compositions.
More impressive is that these unbelievably tight performances are recorded live at Portland's famed Jazz venue Jimmy Mak's. The concert was recorded on August 26, 2013 and was released in April of 2014.
The album is launched by "A Charmed Life." As with all of the tracks on the album, Prigodich wrote this one and you will want to hear it over and over just to focus each time on each of the different musicians. The corps progressions of piano-bass-sax are fantastic. Prigodich and Nastos get hot solos.
"At Sixes and Sevens" is a brilliant adventure in time and space and Trujillo and Melz are just the percussionists to own the piece. Prigodich has said that e loves writing the odd-meter pieces "to keep Reinhardt Melz interested." Get Damian Erskine in the mix and the rhythm section lights it up.
The winner of "Best Live Performance" on my Jazz Journalists Association 2013Poll was "Lucy Goose." This recording is the very same that won that mention. The guys are tight in the pocket and it is stunningly rendered.
"Al Di Hemiola" is another fine tribute. Following on the heels of "Nigel's Theme," it is also highly melodic while still maintaining the tight pace and cohesion. The uniformity of the musicians is impressive. It is evidence of their intense familiarity which creates a feeling of telepathy between them all, most notably Erskine and Melz.
The show at Jimmy Mak's was furious and full on energy that Prigodich compositions demand. He is a composer of the top tier and a fine pianist. The band, I must confess, is in my top three list.
Listen for the precision of the compositions, for the cohesion of the band and for the sheer enjoyment of smoking Jazz. It is impossible to get enough of these guys.
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Purchase "Life Upstaged" here: http://mikeprigodich.bandcamp.com/album/life-upstaged