303  New album by drummer Rudy Royston

New album by drummer Rudy Royston

“303” is the name of drummer Rudy Royston’s debut album, released on Feb. 4 by Greenleaf Music, the jazz record label owned and curated by artist Dave Douglas.

Of the 11 tracks on this recording, nine are Royston original compositions plus two covers including Mozart’s “Ave verum corpus” and Radiohead’s “High and Dry.”

Although he’s a native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Royston, 43,  entitled his album after the area code for Denver, where he grew up. The lineup for this release includes Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Nadja Noordhuis on trumpet, Sam Harris on piano, Nir Felder on guitar, Mimi Jones and Yasushi Nakamura on bass.

Recognized as sideman for a wide range of world-renowned artists including Bill Frisell, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, and Greg Osby among others, Royston’s work as a bandleader has brought him increasing recognition in the jazz scene.

“303” presents a collection of post-bop tunes, where Royston captures the passion with which he approaches rhythm. Unexpected turns, interesting melodies and his characteristic dynamics populate this greatly expected production. His career has taking him to play straight jazz, soul, fusion and even avant-garde, influences that can be heard in his music.

With two tunes entitled “Prayer” – track 3, Prayer (For The People) and track 11, Prayer (For The Earth) – Royston continues to explore duplicity, as he did with his inclusion of not only one, but two double bass that can be experienced in full on this last track. Two bass players at the same time are certainly a curiosity worth to explore by any jazz listener. The result is a magnificent expansion in colors that along the rest of the instruments evoke a meditative mood.

“Goodnight Kinyah” is a lullaby for Royston’s daughter with a sweet and relaxed melody that allows the septet to explore a more ballade-type song rich with brass arrangements.

Through out “303”, Royston appears as an impressive drummer without overpowering a talented backline of young artists.

With his fresh and innovative set of compositions there is no doubt a major voice has rise into contemporary jazz music.