arco solos are like twisting filaments of bright song..."
"Ari Roland not only aces the course...he
can set the curriculum"
Bassist Ari Roland grew up inside the New York underground bop scene, where the hard core players travel, and where the music is always at its most challenging. Known as a singular standout by his teenage years, Ari quickly found himself accompanying the greatest of the inner circle, such as saxophonist "C" Sharpe, and pianist Frank Hewitt. Ari could be found regularly playing in the company of Jimmy Robinson, Lou Donaldson, Junior Cook, and Vernel Fournier, who passed on the esoteric knowledge that only the masters know, the stuff you'll never learn in the university. Lessons with the late Homer Mensch led through a stint at Juilliard, whereafter it seems as though he was being called up by everyone in the business. Preferring the musical freedom of Smalls, he was the most frequently appearing performer of all over a span of a decade, appearing 2-3 times weekly with the great Frank Hewitt until Hewitt's death, and in several other groups including eight years weekly as co-leader of Across 7 Street. Ari cites the passionate, raw, gut-string sound of the great interpretive violinists Eugene Ysaye, Fritz Kreisler, and George Enescu as important influences. Within jazz, he cites Jimmy Blanton, Oscar Pettiford, Israel Crosby, and Ray Brown as influencing him on his instrument, along with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Dizzy Gillespie. The great artist, whether painter, actor, or musician, is able to elevate the commonplace into something larger-than-life. The brush stroke of van Gogh makes an entire canvas resonate through the centuries. An uncomprimising artist, Roland, makes the commonplace of walking bass into modern art. His compositions are adventurous excursions with nth-dimensional twists and turns and no guard rail.
Appears on: Ari Roland / Sketches from a Bassist's Album, Frank Hewitt / We Loved You, Frank Hewitt / Not Afraid To Live, Frank Hewitt Quintet / Four Hundred Saturdays, Sacha Perry / Eretik, Across 7 Street / Made in New York