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Scoop by Steve Venz

In the past I have spoken of listening to certain CDs on a Sunday. These are CDs that take you away and calm your senses before that next work week or routine. In Steve Venz's new CD called Scoop, he creates this mood.

As a critical listener, I listen to CDs at different times of the week or times of day, and I have my summer or winter CDs also. You will find this process out, purely by just listening to what you want to hear as time passes, the influence of the weather, or some special event. Music is purely for the senses. Memories are re-created within music. I am sure you can listen to a piece of music and specific memories come back of where, how, what you were doing then. In music, as in trying to pick out a good book to read, don't look at the cover and make an opinion right away on what it could or should be, I did this with Venz's CD. I looked at the cover and said "its another bass solo project".

The CD starts out as you would expect. A jazz quartet playing a typical jazz formatted tune called Waiting for Relief. This entails a start, melody, with sometimes a free section called improvisation. Then there is a repeating melody, then the finale. With this CD, a change then occurs. Suddenly the song was not being so predicable. This did not represent your typical jazz format solo CD. It changed to an unexpected blues shuffle, called Scoop, to then a very wonderful ballad called The Texture of Dusk.

I must commend Venz for having a color swatch of different varieties of music. This was not the assumption I had made about a 'typical solo CD'. Most of your typical solo projects (of which there are thousands) have what I call show offs. If it is a bass player's solo CD, he or she shows how fast he can play or do a song that is totally out in left field. This makes the CD very boring after a while. It would have color and volume, but without feeling and texture. You no doubt will find this in most every instrumentalists solo effort. But not in this CD, for Venz blends in with the band even though he is the lead player.

The band is extremely good. They use good full textures and spacing is done very nicely. They take their time at playing that relaxed feeling. Creating the mood is most important with every tune, Venz's band does this with splendor. The sax player sounds like he has been listening to the great sax legend John Coltrane. But in all these solos and melodies, its nice to hear Venz play in the background. When its his time to solo, its heaven to listen to!

The CD has an amazing variety of standard jazz, ballads, bossa, even a cover tune by the Beatles called I Will. So when you want to buy a CD and there is one person on the cover (or solo project), don't prejudge the disc by its cover. Good musicians will be versatile and create something good to listen to, especially on that special Sunday morning. Thanks to you Steve Venz for making my Sunday morning a good day. I give this CD a 3 out of 5 on my jazz-o meter.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Steve Venz
  • CD Title: Scoop
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Daal Jazz
  • Rating: Three Stars
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