"Their second album, Varmint, shows growth exactly where it was eneded. The compositions are better developed, the playing more relaxed and fluid, and the record better represents the quintet's onstage spirit...one gets the feeling that the musicians really enjoy taking the various routes that are made open to them by Adasiewicz's compositions.... Smart and playful, Varmint, reminds me of those cartoons where that cwazy wabbit Bugs Bunny alwasy outsmarted Elmer Fudd." (four stars)
"Vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz is emerging as one of the most interesting bandleaders and composers in modern creative improvised jazz. ...Adasiewicz has assembled a quintet of astounding musical proportion and depth, playing his tricky music that seems to have no limits of imagination, wit or wisdom."
– All Music Guide
"Vibraphonist-composer Jason Adasiewicz has recently been very active, both as a sideman and a leader. Varmint is the second date under his own name, and he's joined by cornetist Josh Berman, saxophonist/clarinetist Aram Shelton, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly for six originals and a cover of pianist Andrew Hill's "The Griots." The statements that have come down the pike about this band are accurate: in a sense, it's an updating of a particulaly fractured brand of post-bop that, in the mid-Sixties, centered on Blue Note artists like Hill, Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, and Joe Chambers. But unlike, say, the SF Jazz Collective, this is an update with a hell of a lot of bite.... Adasiewicz also has a tone and sense of phrasing that is unlike anyone on the instrument currently active, his sense of melody wistful and attack pelting with equal parts Milt Jackson and Khan Jamal. Rather than a blow-by-blow, I'll just say this much: I haven't heard a modern jazz record this good in years."
released September 29, 2009
Led by vibraphonist and composer Jason Adasiewicz [a-dah-shev-its], Varmint is Rolldown's second release. A prolific member of Chicago's jazz and improvised music scene, Jason is quickly gaining widespread recognition through his extensive work as a sideman as well as such high-profile honors as his strong showing in DownBeat's 2007, 2008 and 2009 "Critics' Poll – Rising Star" Vibes category.
The band has been active for over 5 years and features stalwarts from Chicago's vibrant jazz/new music community:
Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone
Josh Berman: cornet
Aram Shelton: alto saxophone & clarinet
Jason Roebke: bass
Frank Rosaly: drums
Their sound combines Blue Note's classic, avant-leaning '60s albums with contemporary drive, swing, energy, and attack. Varmint features six new compositions by Adasiewicz and a tune written by Andrew Hill.
The music on Varmint is swinging and accessible but also very modern and forward-looking. Recommended if you like: Jackie McLean, Bobby Hutcherson, Andrew Hill, Grachan Moncur III as well as other, newer, good things that make Stanley Crouch shake his fists skyward and shout aloud, “This isn’t jazz”.
Nobody, giant or otherwise could sleep through that opening section!...I liken it to the struggle for life...working/striving for balance in a musical/ecological domain... (what?) oh, its groovy too! Bob Ross
I really appreciate that with such a large group of musicians the overall sound and experience of listening is really spacious, never cluttered. The lovely recording helps that a lot, and of course the compositional aspects that make it breathe are superb- it gets more and more fun as I listen again and again. Jasper Skydecker