Julian Waterfall Pollack 

Infinite Playground

Berkeley High School produces at least as many successful jazz artists as the average performing arts school, and some of them get international currency within a few years of graduation. Julian Waterfall Pollack belongs to this rarefied camp. The son of a concert pianist and professional saxophonist, he was already a local star while serving in the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble. By age seventeen, he'd put funk backbeats to Coltrane's "Giant Steps," composed a whole dossier of original material, and amassed two combos of his own. He won a scholarship to Berklee School of Music and turned it down; instead, Pollack attended New York University and eked out his living as a professional musician in New York.

Infinite Playground is Pollack's second album (he recorded the first as a high school student) and it helps cement his position in an increasingly cutthroat milieu. He's a classically trained pianist, and it shows in his covers of "Cherokee" — which has an exacting, metronymic rhythm — and the Beatles tune "And I Love Her." Opening track "Summertime" might be the most creative reinterpretation of an old standard, with its use of left-hand bass and spare right-hand soloing. He does "My Funny Valentine" as a slow bossa, buoyed by the sensitive brushwork of drummer Evan Hughes. (Bassist Noah Garabedian rounds out the trio.) Half the tunes are Pollack originals. "Death of Hamlet" is a waltz that sounds almost like Chopin; "Lily" is a hymnal love ballad. The best (and jazziest) is "Forewarning." In that one, Hughes and Pollack let the rhythm slacken. You begin to hear elements of a future Julian Waterfall Pollack, who will ultimately — well, probably — shed his classical roots and make albums that swing all the way through. (Junebeat)

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2016

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

The Queer & Trans Issue 2016

Queer and trans coverage contributed by individuals who identify as queer or trans.

© 2016 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation