Venture—Life Cycle


Venture is a group made up of jazz luminaries and young lions. Always an exciting mix. Seasoned players Mark Sherman (vibes/piano) and Mike Clark (drummer) and young guns Felix Pastorious (bass)—yes, son of the great one—and Chase Baird (Tenor). I was alerted to the CD by Ropeadope, Venture's record company. Polite emails and gentle follow ups work. With so many PR companies peppering the inbox, it's nice to discover gems. And Venture is a gem of a group. 

It's straight ahead jazz, no nonsense, no squeaking in the altissimo registers, no ten minute drum solos. The charts swing like hell—the album will grab you from the opening bars of the opening track Life Cycle. Ballads like The Chant and Do You Remember the Beginning? break the swing but not the musical momentum. Other up tempo charts such as Tipping the Scale, with its torrents of modal downward rushes from the Juilliard-trained Chase Baird, are superb. This is feel good jazz. Enervating in its freshness and energy. The heads are interesting and composed beautifully, and the forms are incredibly inventive. Both leads swing, and with a driving rhythm section with them all the way, it makes for great listening.


The recording captures the individuality of each player, and no matter the subtlety (drummer Mike Clark is so musical in his drumming), nothing will escape your ears (listen for Baird's breathy reed at the ends of phrases, just like Getz). 

There are lots of jazz groups that have come and gone, very quickly, formed for a club date here, a recording there. I hope Venture sticks around and gives us a lot more. They have the musical and technical chops to last a long time. 

Ropeadope Records

June 2018 release