The Jazz Writer- Woodrow Wilkins Trios aren’t supposed to sound like ensembles. Perhaps Dann Zinn didn’t get that memo. Shangri La (2014) only has three musicians, each playing multiple instruments, coming together with a sound bigger than the size of the group implies. Zinn plays tenor saxophone, processed sax and wood flute. With him are […]
DownBeat Feb 2015 – 4 Stars Shangri La features a bassless trio consisting of tenor, guitar and drums. While one may at first think of the Paul Motian Trio with Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, the music of Dann Zinn’s group sometimes sounds closer to that of world-music group Oregon, although played with more fire. […]
Dann Zinn: Shangri La (2014) By Dan Bilawsky Published: October 6, 2014 Maybe we’ve had it all wrong about Shangri-La. Instead of viewing it as a fictional utopian locale, as laid out by author James Hilton in his famed Lost Horizon (Macmillan, 1933), it can be alternately viewed as a wide-open musical state of being […]
MIDWEST RECORD CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher Volume 38/Number 330 September 26, 2014 Copyright 2014 Midwest Record DANN ZINN/Shangri La: This trio date is the bastard child of what would happen if ECM crashed into Adventure Music and made chamberish trio jazz with an edge that you can’t always put your finger on because it […]
DownBeat Feb 2015 FOUR STARS
Shangri La features a bassless trio consisting of tenor, guitar and drums. While one may at first think of the Paul Motian Trio with Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, the music of Dann Zinn’s group sometimes sounds closer to that of world-music group Oregon, although played with more fire.
The versatility of guitarist Chris Robinson, who sounds equally at home getting an acous- tic folk sound as he does sounding rockish, is a key to the group’s success. Also quite significant is the sensitivity of drummer Peter Erskine, who often plays quietly in a supportive role yet gives the group a strong forward momentum when it is needed.
Dann Zinn is generally the lead voice, display- ing a large tone on tenor. He contributed eight of the 11 selections on Shangri La, also interpret- ing themes by Brahms, Puccini and Green Day. “Daydreams” could be considered folk music except for the fairly free improvising during the solos. On “Voodoo,” Zinn plays octave jumps effortlessly, and his free-form flights are more rhythmic and accessible than one might expect. The loose ballad “Shangri La” precedes an intense tradeoff by his electrified tenor and Robinson’s passionate guitar on “Wanderlust.”
The statements by guitar and tenor on “Rain” are often out of tempo but never run short of ideas. After a brief flute interlude, Zinn uplifts Green Day’s “Good Riddance,” turning it into a folkish piece that one could imagine Charles Lloyd exploring. “The Bullfighter” is catchy, fits its title well and could be adopted by other musicians. Lyrical ballad treatments of themes by Brahms and Puccini (the latter has some fiery interplay by tenor and guitar) sandwich an exciting jam on the catchy and funky “Tic Tac Toe.”
All in all, Shangri La is a continually intrigu- ing set of adventurous music that is often surpris- ingly melodic. —Scott Yanow
January, 2 2015
It used to be that a sax trio was the top of Sisyphus’ hill for jazz musicians, but these days they are almost as common as a standard quartet. Tenor saxist Dann Zinn ups the ante by fronting a piano/bass-less team with Peter Erskine/dr and Chris Robinson/g.
He’s got a thick and strong sound on the horn, able to keep it melodic on the gentle canter of “Daydreams” as well as the funky boogaloo of “Voodoo.” Erskine keeps things moving along with his ride cymbal holding the reigns on on Zinn’s staccato during “Fain” while “The Bullfighter” is a bolero filled with macho drama. On flute, Zinn crates some cozy moods with Robinson’s ukulele during “Good Riddance” while the guitarist goes for funky licks on ”Tic Tac Toe.” Everyone gets lyrical on a reading of “Brahms’ 3rd Symphony, 3rd Movement” and a rich rubato has Zinn’s sax filling the ears with wonder. Impressive and varied.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Volume 38/Number 330
September 26, 2014
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record DANN ZINN/Shangri La: This trio date is the bastard child of what would happen if ECM crashed into Adventure Music and made chamberish trio jazz with an edge that you can’t always put your finger on because it hops around profusely and proficiently. This smart, well traveled sax man leads a trio of Peter Erskine and Chris Robinson, and it’s a game raiser all the way around. A stretching out, off the clock kind of date, this is not so easy jazz that is easy to take. A high water mark for sitting down jazz fans that like to have some swinging elements in the mix, it’s just plain fun by some real pros. Check it out.
Dann Zinn: Shangri La (2014)
By Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 6, 2014
Maybe we’ve had it all wrong about Shangri-La. Instead of viewing it as a fictional utopian locale, as laid out by author James Hilton in his famed Lost Horizon (Macmillan, 1933), it can be alternately viewed as a wide-open musical state of being waiting to be explored. That’s what saxophonist Dann Zinn seems to go for on this aptly-titled release.
For this project, Zinn put together a flexible trio capable of blurring lines. Atmospherics and solid-state jams exist simultaneously, peace and war work in the same space, empty canvases can turn busy at a moment’s notice, and the line between the scripted and the spontaneous is often hard to read. Zinn’s musical version of the titular idyllic wonderland is really as multi-dimensional as you can get. Zinn and his partners on this journey—guitarist Chris Robinson and drumming icon Peter Erskine—are open-minded and open to anything. When these three get going, there’s no telling what they’ll do. Serenity gives way to heat (“Daydreams”); the raw and raunchy come to the surface (“Wanderlust”); a Green Day pop hit is re-imagined as a vehicle for wood flute (“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life”); the allure of the matador comes into focus (“The Bullfighter”); and a state of questioning is explored to the fullest (“Rain”).
Along the way, there are lots of sonic marvels and technical wonders to behold. Zinn’s register-hopping groove creation during “Voodoo” is a gas, his epic battle with Robinson on “Wanderlust” is an obvious highlight, and his sensitive looks at dissimilar artists—Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, and Green Day—are each beautiful in their own way(s). Erskine, as always, can whisper or grind to perfection, and Robinson proves to be a man of many moods and colors. Have these three found the mystical realm they were looking for? There’s no way to truly answer that, but they’ve certainly carved out some great music that speaks to their strong chemistry and skills.
O’s Place Jazz
Bay Area saxophonist Danny Zinn presents his fourth album as a leader following Grace’s Song. This time he leads a trio with Guitarist Chris Robinson and drummer/percussionist Peter Erskine. Eight of the eleven selections are originals locked into a modern jazz-fusion groove that is lucid and swift. The pace is varied from burners to eerie ballads like the title track. We liked the cool reggae bounce of “Tic Tac Toe” and “Voodoo” best. Shangri La is a creative adventure that expands Zinn into a new dimension.
Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe Detroit
A mix of mesmerizing original compositions and interesting covers from saxophonist Dann Zinn and his trio who explore worldly Jazz using processed sax, wood flute, and guitar loops, with Chris Robinson on guitars and the enigmatic Peter Erskine on hand drums and various percussion.
Track Listing: Daydreams; Voodoo; Shangri La; Wanderlust; Rain; FLute Intro; Good Diddance (Time Of Your Life); The Bullfighter; Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90 – III. Poco Allegretto; Tic Tac Toe; Chi Bel Sogno Di Doretta.
Personnel: Dann Zinn: tenor saxophone, processed sax, wood flute; Chris Robinson: guitar, baritone guitar, guitar loops, ukelele; Peter Erskine: drums, tambourine, shakers.