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Peter Hum gives his take on David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

If you know Snuck In and Snuck Out, the 2010 and 2012 live recordings from trumpeter David Weiss and his Point of Departure quintet, then this recently released studio disc from the trumpeter’s group might induce some déjà entendu.

In paticular, there’s a significant amount of overlap between the Snuck In and Venture Inward, which is not surprising given that all of the discs were essentially recorded a day apart in 2008. Thus, both CDs include versions of the Herbie Hancock tune I Have A Dream, the Tony Williams piece Black Comedy, and the Charles Moore pieces Number 4 and Snuck In. (CompletingVenture Inward are the title track and Pax, both by pianist Andrew Hill.)

More important that what was played, however, is the commonality of how the music was played. Happily, all the recordings by Weiss’s group exhibit the same feistiness and churning, postbop creativity.

Listen to the studio version of I Have A Dream to hear the eye-widening power and smarts of Weiss and tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, as well as their keen rapport. Meanwhile, guitarist Nir Felder is a mindblower of his own come solo time. The mood is definitely contemporary and rough-and-tumble, courtesy of splashy drummer Jamire Williams, on this track and others. Admirably holding down the fort is bassist Luques Curtis.

Throughout, Weiss and his youthful group add new sizzle to the choice material by 1960s jazz master composers. The tracks sounds fresh and immediate, and tunes such as title cannily constructed Snuck In, with its metrically tricky form, remain challenging today. (Spoiler: Here’s how that tune is constructed metrically.)

Weiss’ Point of Departure project may have been something of a musical shooting star five years ago, generating artifacts that are only reaching us now. Let’s hope that the busy trumpeter — he’s often occupied with the Cookers, whose most recent CD I reviewed here — can find the time to venture inward again with Allen, Felder, Williams and Curtis.

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JazzWrap on David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

Venture Inward is an interesting third outing from David Weiss’ quintet, Point of Departure. Technically, in recording order, this would actually be the first Point of Departure album. The album features the studio versions of tracks that would later be performed on the live albums, Snuck In and Snuck Out. It’s still a solid release that is worth every bit of the money. And real document of the organics that the group is and would result in their later live dates.
While the four tracks that would be featured in the live dates have the same vibe here in the studio; it might be “Snuck In” that feels slightly different. This studio version opens with Felder’s guitar lines instead of the ferocity of Weiss’ trumpet. But the energy of the performance is still there but a little subdued. This gives the piece a little bit more depth and allows you to focus more on the interaction between the members.
“Venture Inward” and “Pax” both classic Andrew Hill tunes illustrate the desire that Weiss has to re-invigorate and educate jazz fans about hard bop. The group expresses some colourful tones throughout “Venture Inward.” On “Pax” you can almost feel a note for note annotation but with real reverence.
David Weiss & Point Of Departure is one of those groups that Weiss uses to explore the more raw and free form elements of jazz history. He seems to be doing an extremely excellent job with this group. Let’s hope they stay together. Point Of Departure are giving a superb jazz history lesson with Venture Inward.
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Steve Greenlee reviews David Weiss “Venture Inward” for JazzTimes…

Let’s call bunk on the claim that jazz should always find new things to say. Venture Inward, the new platter from trumpeter David Weiss and his quintet Point of Departure, is steeped in 1960s postbop—specifically that of Miles Davis—and it would be futile to argue that it is anything but jazz of the highest order.

Following his two outstanding live albums, Snuck In and Snuck Out, Weiss plants his feet unapologetically in jazz’s relatively unsung heyday, naming his band for Andrew Hill’s famous record and playing two of the pianist’s tunes. The group starts with an 11 1/2-minute cover of Herbie Hancock’s “I Have a Dream” that segues seamlessly into Tony Williams’ “Black Comedy,” all of which is framed by the restless, roiling drumming of Jamire Williams and the pinpoint precision of guitarist Nir Felder and bassist Luques Curtis, who stick their off-beat landings every time. Weiss blows fierce passages on these first two numbers and again on Charles Moore’s “Number 4”—until the rhythm softens, at which point he does too, and his brassy bursts take on rounded edges.

The quintet puts on a clinic in symbiosis; everybody pays attention to and appreciates what the other members are doing. Nowhere is this clearer than on Hill’s “Pax,” on which Weiss and fiery saxophonist JD Allen rein themselves in so that the patient work of the rhythm section can shine. When Allen solos, he does so with restraint, bringing forth his more romantic side.

The odd thing here is that Point of Departure has recorded four of these six tunes before—and in the same order on 2010’s Snuck In. Whereas many groups will release live albums containing music they had previously recorded in the studio, this band has done the opposite. Not only does this illustrate that Weiss tries to perfect his material on the road, but it reinforces the point that the essence of jazz is personal expression rather than breaking new ground.

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Dan Bilawsky on David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

Fans of trumpeter David Weiss may be a bit confused when they take a look at this album. At quick glance, it reads like a re-tread of Weiss’ Snuck In (Sunnyside, 2010), which has a near-identical line-up playing a near-identical program, but there’s a good reason for that: both albums were actually recorded a day apart in completely different environments. Snuck In—and companion piece Snuck Out (Sunnyside, 2011)—capture Weiss’ Point Of Departure band (mostly) live at New York’s Jazz Standard on March 25, 2008; The majority of Venture Inward‘s tracks were recorded in a studio a day earlier.

It’s tempting to run a complete compare-and-contrast on all three albums, but it isn’t really necessary. All of these records, when viewed as a single body of work, help to provide a complete picture of this band at a specific point and time and they’re all first rate.

Weiss’ Point Of Departure quintet points directly to the late ’60s, but doesn’t really live there. The band takes inspiration from trumpeter Miles Davis’ second great quintet and its membership, trumpeter Charles Moore, and original thinking pianist Andrew Hill, but it puts its own spin on material connected to these artists. Weiss chose wisely when he put together this group of highly respected modernists, who fit this music well without kowtowing to its creators. Tenor saxophonistJD Allen shares the front line with Weiss, and both men marry the unpredictable with the melodic at every turn. Guitarist Nir Felder deftly changes hats, as he delivers shimmering background commentary one minute and probing solo work the next, and drummer Jamire Williams is a beacon of intensity. Bassist Luques Curtis, who’s replaced by Matt Clohesy on the Sunnyside albums, acts as a musical adhesive, binding all manner of sound together at any given moment.

Pianist Herbie Hancock’s “I Have A Dream,” which features some winning interplay between Weiss and Allen, and drummer Tony Williams’ “Black Comedy,” which moves with strength and off-kilter buoyancy, open things up. Moore’s lengthy and intense “Number 4” finds the band exploring a loose-tight rhythmic duality, as solos get passed around and things congeal and disintegrate at will. The majority of this music is powerful and direct, but finesse does find a way into the picture on Hill’s “Pax,” which follows on the heels of his sly “Venture Inward.” Moore’s “Snuck In” serves as potent conclusion to an exciting album that’s built around a new take on the late ’60s “new thing” esthetic.

Track Listing: I Have A Dream; Black Comedy; Number 4; Venture Inward; Pax; Snuck In.

Personnel: David Weiss: trumpet; J.D. Allen: tenor saxophone; Nir Felder: guitar; Luques Curtis: bass; Jamire Williams: drums.

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The Jazz Breakfast takes on David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

New York trumpeter Weiss leads a quintet with JD Allen on tenor, Nir Felder on guitar, Luques Curtis on bass and Jamire Williams on drums.

The material is all from the late 1960s, and includes Herbie Hancock’s I Have A Dream, Tony Williams’ Black Comedy, a couple of Andrew Hills and two Charles Moores.

The angle is to get back to that kind of searching, explorative playing that was the hallmark of the late ’60s, but to do it in a modern idiom. Weiss is a natural for this way of approaching the edges of what has become the mainstream with a sense of adventure. After all, he has played with some of the crucial musicians from those times – Bobby Hutcherson, Bily Hart, James Moody among them.

Venture Inward shows a band of players comfortable in each other’s company and able to explore their music assured of cohesive support. Guitarist Felder is particularly strong on the title track, while the most searching are the long work-outs Number 4 and I Have A Dream. I find Weiss’s improvisation on the latter takes too many turns up and down very similar scales, but he is powerful and original elsewhere on the album. Allen has some fun on the former.

It might not be an outstanding album in the end, but it’s a fulfilling one, and certainly achieves its central aim. Well recorded.

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Dave Sumner makes David Weiss his pick of the week for eMusic…

A solid new set of releases dropped this week, resulting in something like 20 recommendations in all. There’s some oddball recordings here, but for the most part, it’s Jazz of a straight-ahead variety that is the predominant sound. Also, a whole bunch of albums from debut and under-the-radar artists, so if you look over this list and feel like there’s something wrong with you for recognizing so few names… don’t. It’s not just you. Lots of new names and lots of new music for your consideration. Now, let’s begin…

David Weiss, Venture Inward: Trumpeter David Weiss leads a solid quintet of J.D. Allen (sax), Nir Felder (guitar), Luques Curtis (bass), and Jamire Williams (drums) through a set of renditions of compositions by Charles Moore, Andrew Hill, Tony Williams, and Herbie Hancock. While the music is relatively straight-ahead, it captures both the eccentricities of the original compositions and the personalities of the musicians now giving a new voice to those tunes. Just solid Jazz, likely to have some serious cross-appeal to both hardcore and casual fans alike. The quintet keeps the gas pedal close to the floor for most of the album, but their wonderful rendition of Andrew Hill’s “Pax” illustrates that they’re just as comfortable at slower speeds, as well. Pick of the Week.

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Tim Niland on David Weiss & Point of Departure…

This studio LP was recorded the day before Weiss’ band was recorded live for two subsequent albums, and it makes a tidy companion piece for the trilogy of this particular group. The band consists of David Weiss on trumpet, J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Nir Felder on guitar, Luques Curtis on bass and Jamire Williams on drums. Naming the group after a famous Andrew Hill album Point of Departure, clues you in that this band is interested in adventurous hard bop performances that allow plenty of soloing opportunities for members of the group, sometimes sounding like a relay race of solo statements.“I Have a Dream” features a well-constructed medium tempoed trumpet solo with gentle guitar comping and deft drumming. Allen’s saxophone enters at a low flame and makes a solid statement as the drums continue to simmer below. A low-toned serpentine guitar solo snakes its way through before the whole group comes together once again.Weiss and Allen harmonize very well together on “Black Comedy” with the leader punching through the fog for a potent solo. A witty improvisation is built into “Number 4” which features Allen with an agile and questioning saxophone solo, straining at the form of the music. The band throttles back dynamically and leaves a wide open space for Williams to solo with patience and tact. The group mines a modern hard-bop vibe on “Venture Inward” with the leader’s trumpet having an immediate and forceful impact. Felder keeps things moving with a flowing even-keeled guitar interlude. This was a well done and exploratory, recording where the group pushes the limits of the hard-bop idiom, working very well as an ensemble and allowing each member of the group to demonstrate their skills in solo statements. The music here is modernized hard-bop polished to a sparkling shine. It’s not glib however, they mean every note and play for keeps.

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Lucid Culture reviews “Venture Inward”…

Continuing with today’s “why would you want to make a record of somebody else’s tunes” theme, Cookers trumpeter David Weiss has gone the route of reinvention and reassessment with his quintet Point of Departure on their latest album Venture Inward, due out on the 26th from Posi-Tone. It’s both a look back and a step forward from the melodic 60s postbop sounds that Weiss loves so much. This group follows the Cookers’ blueprint both for starpower, with JD Allen on tenor sax and Nir Felder on guitar, and for having a monster rhythm section, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Jamire Williams, to match Weiss’ other group’s veteran team of Cecil McBee and Billy Hart. Williams in particular owns this record. Given a lot of chances to cut loose, he adds grit and drive and wit in places, particularly on a long, surreal, rather droll solo on the second track. Having seen him play in many different contexts, this is one of his great achievements.

To open the album,  Herbie Hancock’s I Have a Dream gets both expanded and a lot more tightly wound – in both senses of the word – bristling with solos from Weiss, Felder and then Allen in surprisingly nonchalant mode over Williams’ curb-dusting assault. The horn counterpoint as Williams spins on a dime midway through is an artful treat. Miles Davis’ Black Comedy is a workout for tight horn harmonies as well as for a muscular performance from the rhythm section.

The first of two Contemporary Jazz Quintet pieces, an epic take of trumpeter Charles Moore’s Number 4 begins scurrying but moody, a launching pad for Allen’s signature blend of intensity and judicious tunefulness before Weiss chooses his own spots while Williams builds an almost imperceptible trajectory upwards. The group loosens as Felder goes exploring but never loses the swing, even when it seems they’re going to pull into a parking space for a second.

Two Andrew Hill compositions are included as well. Allen gets vividly restless on the first solo on Venture Inward  – it’s as long as many of his own songs – before Weiss moves in for another long, thought-out excursion. The Hill ballad Pax floats along with a rather somber, rainy-day ambience before Felder spikes it and then Allen takes it in a more seductive direction. The album winds up with the second Contemporary Jazz Quintet piece, Snuck In, replete with moody tension, scampering swing, purposeful postbop scampering from Weiss and darker, similarly measured contributions from Allen and Felder. Besides being great fun to hear, albums like this serve a lot of useful purposes: they make you want to revisit the source material, or discover it for the first time, not to mention keeping it alive for a contemporary audience.

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The Jazz Word on David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

Trumpeter David Weiss, founder of notable groups such as The Cookers and the New Jazz Composers Octet, explores the wide open sounds of late 1960s jazz onVenture Inward with his quintet Point of Departure. With tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, guitarist Nir Felder, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Jamire Williams, Weiss sheds new light on overlooked compositional gems by Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Andrew Hill and Charles Moore.

Weiss’ power as a soloist stems from a deep understanding of the era emulated on the recording. His acrobatic leaps on Hancock’s “I Have a Dream” and Williams’ “Black Comedy” swing with fiery intensity. Although Williams’ tune is associated with his work with Miles Davis, Weiss approaches it with the gusto of his mentor Freddie Hubbard. “Number 4” and “Snuck In,” by trumpeter Moore, come from the somewhat obscure Contemporary Jazz Quintet, a group out of Detroit led by the late pianist Kenny Cox. “Number 4” is a high point of the session, featuring outstanding solos by Weiss, Allen, Felder and drummer Williams, whose intuitive mingling with bassist Curtis is electrifying.

The title track, from Hill’s Blue Note session Grass Roots, is taken slightly slower than the original but maintains the tune’s infectious bounce and abundant energy. “Pax,” also from Hill, is a poignant ballad that utilizes the orchestral possibilities of the quintet. Here, Allen’s gentle approach brings a welcome contrast to the decidedly muscular proceedings.

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Victor Aaron reviews David Weiss “Venture Inward”…

Sometimes, a good thing is worth repeating.

Venture Inward, Weiss’ debut for Posi-Tone Records due out next week, is a studio song-by-song replication ofSnuck In, save for Andrew Hill’s “Erato” (the only studio cut from the earlier album) being replaced by two other Hill compositions of the late 60s, “Venture Inward” and “Pax.” Also as before, Weiss on trumpet is backed by J.D. Allen (tenor sax), Nir Felder (guitar) and Jamire Williams (drums). Luques Curtis (bass) replaced Matt Clohesy. The repeated songs presented on the new album were actually recorded in the studio on the day before the live performances, and the two Hill tracks were taped on the same day a few months later as the replaced Hill track.