|The Five A.M. Strut|
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2. A Time for Healing
3. Tea Shells
4. One for Wendell
6. The Clown Feature
7. For the Youngins
8. The Five A.M. Strut
9. I Regret
Detailed Description / Musicians--Alex Henderson
Ezra Weiss - Piano
Michael Philip Mossman - Trumpet
Antonio Hart - Alto Saxophone
Kelly Roberge - Tenor Saxophone
Leon Lee Dorsey - Bass
Billy Hart - Drums
The Five A.M. Strut, Ezra Weiss' first album as a leader, won't go down in history as the most innovative or forward-thinking debut of the early 2000s; much of his hard bop and post-bop material could have been written 40 years earlier. Throughout the album, the acoustic pianist is quite mindful of the '60s -- especially the classic Blue Note recordings of Horace Silver and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. But if Weiss is determined to be a traditionalist, his goal should be to provide quality traditionalism -- and The Five A.M. Strut is a solid debut for this Portland, OR, resident, who was only 23 when he co-produced this CD with bassist Leon Lee Dorsey in New York in October 2002. This sextet date shows Weiss to be a triple threat; he is skillful as a pianist (Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, and Cedar Walton are obvious pianistic influences) and he is also talented as a bandleader/arranger and a composer. Weiss, in fact, wrote all of the material himself, which certainly counts for something when you consider how many of today's jazz artists are content to play the same old beaten-to-death warhorses over and over. ("My Funny Valentine" is a great song, but do we really need to hear hundreds of new versions in the 21st century?) The Five A.M. Strut falls short of remarkable, but it's an enjoyable, if derivative, demonstration of the pianist's various talents.
All Music Guide
| ||Available Items by Ezra Weiss|| ||About Ezra Weiss|| |
Composer/pianist Ezra Weiss was born on January 16, 1979, the only child of Barry and Lillie Weiss. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was active in community theater, both as an actor and a musical director. He was also involved in band programs, and studied piano with Larry Loeber. After graduating from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ezra moved to Ohio to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
At Oberlin, Ezra studied composition with Wendell Logan and piano with Neal Creque. During his senior year, Ezra formed the jazz sextet Blues Connotation. In 2001, he received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition and moved to Portland, Oregon.
In Portland, Ezra continued to lead Blues Connotation, which later became the Ezra Weiss Sextet. Ezra also began teaching at the Beaverton Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, Self Enhancement Inc., the WOU Mel Brown Jazz Camp, and the Northwest Children's Theater, where he musical directed numerous productions as well. During this time, Ezra studied piano with Gordon Lee.
In 2002, Ezra flew to New York City for a week to record his debut CD, The Five A.M. Strut. Released a year later on the Umoja label, the CD features Michael Philip Mossman, Antonio Hart, Kelly Roberge, Leon Lee Dorsey, and Billy Hart. The Five A.M. Strut received great attention from the press and spent time on both the JazzWeek and CMJ radio charts.
In 2005, Ezra released his second sextet CD, Persephone, on the Umoja label. Again, the album received excellent reviews and radio airplay.
Ezra has composed and/or arranged music for Leon Lee Dorsey, Billy Hart, Thara Memory, Stan Bock, and Renato Caranto, among others. He has also performed with many great musicians including Greg Bandy, Elif Caglar, Samantha Grabler, Thara Memory, Rob Scheps, Renato Caranto, The Original Cats, Dennis Springer, Ben Fowler, Roger Woods, Farnell Newton, Ki Allen and Dennis Rowland. Additionally, Ezra won the 2002 and 2005/2006 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. Currently, he also co-leads the Courtney Bryan/Ezra Weiss Jazz Orchestra in New York.