by Icrom Bigrad
Adam Rogers is a modern jazz guitarist that combines his virtuosity and the language of jazz, with tinges of: rock, funk, blues, country and R&B. The New York City based musician has just released a self-titled debut album, Adam Rogers’ DICE. Comprised of a trio that pairs Rogers with bassist Fima Ephron and drummer Nate Smith.
The album reflects Rogers influence and admiration of Jimi Hendrix and other rock inspired sounds. The opening track, “Dice,” has Rogers distorted guitar playing a twisting melody. The trio is full of complex rhythms and symbiotic listening skills. Rogers incorporates the blues into his playing, with string bending and string popping, and slight palm muted lines. The song form visits a lot of territories and yet still maintains a certain level of cohesiveness.
“Elephant” continues with the rock/blues influence. Rogers’ strat sound is clear with just a little amp overdrive. Ephron and Smith help Rogers build energy during the solo. As the solo progresses, so does Rogers intensity and with the addition of interludes the composition is an integral part of Rogers solo. Smith’s drum sound is also brought into the rock world more so than the jazz world with a big snare sound that fills the sound scape to match Roger’s tone and approach.
DICE also brings into the musical mix heavy metal. “Seven” features Rogers playing a repeated figure in the style and tone that you would find on a heavy metal song. Rogers layers in melodies that are subtle, but never solos or plays anything that would resemble a strong melodic theme. Instead the rhythm and sound of the distorted guitars voicings is the focus. Putting his own unique inflection on the tradition of jazz with this heavy metal closing track is a nice touch. Smith’s stick work is just as aggressive and infused in the two styles as Rogers. “Seven” is all about a feeling and not solos or complex melodies and that is a nice closing statement for DICE.
Rogers again finds invention and inspiration in unique places with DICE. Creating a sound that brings influences of: Jazz, Funk, Rock, heavy metal, country and experimental music together to form an innovative sound palate as a musical vehicle. The fact the Rogers and his two band mates are master improvisors and able to take any sound, rhythm and harmony and say something with it is the reason all of this music works. Rogers is always pushing his music forward and the jazz world better for it!