In the expansive universe of the Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project, musical traditions collide and commingle, ignite and recombine, coalescing into strikingly expressive new forms. A pianist, accordionist and composer whose music flows from his boundless curiosity and gift for forging passionate creative alliances, Rosenblum has carved out a singular niche on the New York scene exploring a far-flung array of rhythms and sounds in compositions guided by deeply etched narratives. Slated for release on February 10, 2023 via One Trick Dog, A Thousand Pebbles is his fourth album as a leader, and it represents a major creative leap from the Nebula Project’s highly regarded 2020 debut Kites & Strings.
A Thousand Pebbles showcases some of the most imaginative players on the contemporary New York scene with a brilliant constellation of improvisers who are also esteemed band leaders, composers and educators. Like its predecessor, the album includes trumpeter Wayne Tucker, guitarist Rafael Rosa, reed expert Jasper Dutz, bassist Marty Jaffe, and drummer Ben Zweig along with new addition Xavier Del Castillo on tenor sax and flute.
The band is uniquely suited for the cohesive musical storytelling the Nebula Project is all about. “I’m lucky in that regard,” says Rosenblum. “I’ve known these guys for a while, and I’ve come to understand their musical personalities. I’m writing for these musicians specifically, in a way that makes it really hard to sub when they’re not available. They’re personally invested in this project.”
Rosenblum’s music reflects his disparate musical passions, which encompass Bulgarian vocal polyphony, Northern Brazilian party music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and traditional Irish music. He introduces his wideopen aesthetic on the opening track “Catamaran,” a sprightly, inviting expedition that traverses open seas before arriving unexpectedly at a Celtic redoubt. The accordion-driven slip jig section was inspired by a lesson with Irish accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane, and Rosenblum’s regular attendance at Monday night Irish song sessions at the Landmark Tavern in Hell’s Kitchen.
A wonderful album brimming with ideas and great playing.
The album will be featured on World of Jazz on 19th February 2023.