Check out the first reviews of Throwback!
CD Review: www.midwestrecord.com
JAKE HERTZOG/Throwback: The young ax master changes things up just a bit by adding Randy Brecker to his regular trio for some extra fusional zip. Other than that, he’s still that super picking tyro that knows how to wield an ax like a knife. The only real difference here is that he’s hit the ripe old age of 27 and his playing reflects the maturity and depth picked up along the way. Other than that, he’s just as right on as ever. Hot stuff throughout.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Throwback - Jake Hertzog
Zoho Music - ZM201314 A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
Jesus, since when did such young guys get to play with such superstars??? Probably since they've proven themselves treading well above and beyond the herd, and Jake Hertzog drives that home on Throwback, his latest, this time on Zoho (schweet!). The guy's created quite a ruckus among fellow guitar and jazz players and then with critics. That being the case, you know this CD isn't going to be just a matter of flashpots and blunderbusses going off but far more centered in dexterity and technique. Previously more based in a jazz-rock milieu, Hertzog now heads for serious fusionland and all that means. Noted for his intervallic acumen, there is, however, a hell of a lot more than that here.
Cleared to Fly gives the first most incandescent notion of that, with its wildly chosen but perfectly coherent abstract chords, as Randy Brecker sails above in Tomasz Stanko fashion (in fact, this CD represents the most Stanko-esque set of chops I've ever heard from him, maintaining an unusual, Renaissance, contrastive pastorality throughout). More than once, though, you'll find yourself asking "How the hell did Hertzog get here from there?!?!", yet it all works perfectly. Bassist Harvie S shines in the background, as imagistic and palpable as I've ever heard him…and that's saying a lot, as drummer Vic Jones paves a way-solid firmament beneath everyone, dexterous and creative.
One of the comparatives not being thrown Hertzog's way is Larry Coryell, yet I hear generous percentages of Coryell's thinkery everywhere—not his chops particularly, though there are some of those as well, but Coryell's perennial out of the box mentations, and even some of Harvey Mandel's unusual techniques. Catch Entropy, where Hertzog almost dives into the kind of 'backwards' playing Harvey executed so well solo and with Mayall and the Pure Food & Drug Act, then coughs up insistent, staccato, chordal ostinato a la Fripp in his experimental prime. Hands On is also extremely interesting, as it takes be-bop somewhere else, the kind of backlands Martino might have chosen had he listened to progrock, RIO, and, say, Ian Carr's Nucleus. Finally, though, there's a marriage between immediacy and thoughtfulness, and this was wrought from the old-school way the CD was recorded. As Hertzog puts it, "You get four dudes in a room, you put up a couple of mikes, you got one day, you hit the record button, and that's the record". One hell of a lot of magic has classically come from that kinda seat-of-the-pants approach. It still does.
From: Something Else Reviews -
by S. Victor Aaron
In 2009, Jake Hertzog was just a couple of years out of Berklee, just beginning to attract notice as a brilliant guitarist, composer and bandleader. That was when he made his debut record Chromatosphere fronting an all-star quartet that exposed the wide range of styles across the jazz and rock spectrums. Now fast forward four years later to Hertzog’s fourth album Throwback, and we find a musician who is still playing rock and jazz but has distilled into a tighter, more distinctive and more coherent style of his own, developing into a force his background has always pointed toward.
One thing that hasn’t changed from that first album is Hertzog’s rhythm section: Harvie S and Victor Jones are a bassist and drummer any frontman of most any kind of music would be privileged to have, as these gents are as accomplished as they come in their respective instruments. Hertzog loaded this album entirely with his own material, and for most of the tracks, he brought in another big name in trumpeter extraordinaire Randy Brecker.
Brecker’s inclusion on the record wasn’t done just to say he played on it; taking in the whole record, it’s clear Hertzog wanted to strike a certain balance between rock and jazz and Brecker’s forty-five year history in doing that gave Hertzog another solo voice who intimately understands what he’s shooting for.
“Entropy,” is a long form melody where Brecker’s clean tone is utilized to play the lead harmony, countered by Hertzog’s trademark intervallic technique. Some nice unison lines occur between them before Hertzog and Brecker square off against each other in a funky interlude, which is right up the trumpeter’s alley. On the title track, a rock shuffle announces the tune, with Brecker’s horn piercing right through it. Hertzog’s solo shows off his ability to seamlessly shift between single lines and chorded patterns and the tune is capped off with Jones performing a rip-roaring, all-rock drum solo behind the chorus.
Hertzog’s agility is further displayed on “Cleared To Fly” as he plays a tightly compacted figure over a calypso cadence. “Sweet Moon” is another interesting tune set at first to a Brazilian rhythm and based on Harvie S’s repeating bass figure that bears some similarity to the short chorus line in Herbie Hancock’s “Actual Proof.” Jones hits the cymbals with increasing volume, egging on Hertzog’s solo, and tempo changes to a swing when Brecker takes the reins and digs deep into the harmony.
“Sending Home,” also showcases Brecker and his ability to mimic a vocalist — a rock vocalist, even — as what begins as a ballad picks up steam as he builds up toward an ear-catching crescendo. Three tracks are trio performances, the most notable of these being “Hands On,” which Hertzog aptly describes as one of his “drunken Monk” songs. Even though it swings, Jones is driving hard like a rock drummer, and Hertzog has bop chops to spare. Of course, Harvie S crushes his solo, too. “First To Rise” is another Brecker-less track, notable not because of dazzling improvising but because Hertzog had conceived a fetching, Midwestern style folk tune that you could swear is some sturdy old standard.
The expectations have been set high for Jake Hertzog since he had gotten off to such a nice start to his career.Throwback meets those lofty expectations.
Check out this great interview on Music Web Express:
From: All About Jazz
With his fourth solo venture, nascent New York-based guitarist Jake Hertzog beckons the services of celebrated jazz trumpeter,Randy Brecker. His conspicuous synergy with longtime associates, bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones is true to form on a set that highlights an uncanny blend of harmonically appealing content and edgy jazz-fusion extravaganzas, heightened by Hertzog's judicious use of distortion techniques.
Throwback represents a significant level of maturity attained by this young artist, largely owing to a host of memorable compositions. Brecker's presence, among other positives, instills a sequence of glaring contrasts and vibrantly enacted discourses. But Hertzog's noteworthy technical abilities reside in his broad jazz vernacular and many-sided approach, where he unifies Wes Montgomery-like chord solos with stinging single note leads. At times, he takes on the role of a pianist via his clustering phraseology.
The band spawns a great deal of impact, regardless of tempo. For instance, "Entropy," is engineered with a straight-four heavy backbeat, featuring Brecker and Hertzog's brash unison lines. At times, the musicians produce a big sound, as Hertzog fills in the gaps with twirling chord voicings that divulge a potpourri of layered mosaics. And Brecker often soars into parts unknown with his oscillating vibrato- drenched passages. Moreover, the trumpeter's stout union of power and fluidity remains a constant throughout. Yet on the core trio ballad "First to Rise," Hertzog propagates a solemn melody line with bluesy and probing extended notes, casting notions of veiled optimism. Nonetheless, Throwback emerges as a major milestone in Hertzog's young career.
One of Amazon's Top Reviewers, Grady Harp, has given the new album 5 Stars!
Jake Hertzog is a movie star handsome young musician who is still playing rock and jazz but has distilled into a tighter, more distinctive and more coherent style of his own, developing into a force his background has always pointed toward. His finesse with the guitar is as fine as it gets: he's even been called a `blazing wunderkind' by Guitar Player magazine and praised him for his unorthodox intervallic maneuvers, unique hybrid picking technique and startlingly fresh approach to the fretboard. Other ritics have been equally effusive calling him `a force to be reckoned with in the six-string world'.
The sound variety and style variety he brings to this new album is spectacular. His choice of comrades in this venture is a sure one. The ensemble here is Jake Hertzog-Guitar, Randy Brecker-Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Harvie S-Acoustic and Electric Bass, and Victor Jones-Acoustic and Electric Drums.
The tracks on this album are as follows:
All Over Now
Cleared to fly
Is It Summer
First to Rise
As Bill Milkowski states, `The album title, Jake explains, has to do with both his attitude toward the music and the method in which it was recorded. "From the inception of this project, the idea was to go a little bit back-to-basics and make a very classic one-day, four-microphone, one-take type of jazz record, in contrast to my other albums that were really more done like rock albums with overdubs and sound changes and things like that. This one is really a throwback to a 1960s conception of a jazz record. You get four dudes in a room, you put up a couple of mics, you got one day, you hit the record button and that's the record. And it was kind of a natural way to do this particular record because we didn't have a lot of rehearsal time, we didn't have a big tour leading up to the recording session. So it was strictly a whatever happens, happens scenario in the studio." This album is an all around winner. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 13
Editors Pick Music Review by Jack Goodstein
Perhaps the one thing necessary for any fine jazz ensemble is chemistry. Of course musical talent is essential, but a talented instrumentalist that doesn’t buy into the ensemble’s vision, a player more concerned with himself than the group, can often be a destructive force. When you’ve got an ensemble that works, adding a new voice, no matter how fine a musician, you are taking a calculated risk. What will that new voice do to the group’s demonstrated chemistry?
Acclaimed young guitarist Jake Hertzog’s trio, with bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones, has that necessary chemistry. Their three album’s—Chromatosphere (2009), Patterns (2010), Evolution (2011)—have made that clear. So when their new album, Throwback, comes out and the trio has become a quartet, you have to question why Hertzog would mess with a good thing. Even when the added voice is a recognized all-star, even when that voice is trumpeter Randy Brecker, you have to wonder.
Turns out there’s no need to worry. Brecker, Hertzog, Harvie S, and Jones play like they’ve been working together for years. Hertzog knows what he wants from Brecker, and Brecker delivers. As Hertzog explains in the liner notes, “I wanted him to be almost more like the lead singer in a rock band than a trumpet player, like Bono in U2, Kurt Cobain in Nirvana, Eddie Vedder in Pearl Jam, or Chris Cornell in Soundgarden. So I arranged it so he could just kind of float above and do whatever and it would sound great as long as the rhythm section is cooking.”
Well, the rhythm section was cooking alright, and Brecker was not only floating, he was flying. Throwback is a set of some of the finest jazz you’re likely to hear this year. Working on six of the nine Hertzog original compositions that make up the album (three tunes are trio numbers), the quartet produces a dynamic sound filled with power. It is a big sound, intense and energetic. Brecker soars whenever he plays, from the fast-paced “Cleared to Fly” and the almost demonic “Entropy” with its Twilight Zone riffs, through the title song which ends the album on a high. And when Hertzog and Brecker stage a battle of licks in “Entropy,” it is clearly a throwback to older traditions. There is also some eloquent haunting solo work in “Sending Home.”
The trio’s three tracks offer something of a respite. “Is It Summer” and the lyrical “First to Rise” offer a more laid-back vibe, but the team takes off on “Hands On,” a tune Hertzog calls “drunken Thelonious Monk.”
If adding a voice to an established ensemble is a risk, in this case it was a risk worth taking.
From Jazz Weekly: by George W. Harris
Guitarist Jake Hertzog fronts an unorthodox quartet with Randy Brecker/tp-fh, Harvie S/b and Victor Jones/dr for nine originals that mix the lyricism and sophistication of jazz with the rhythmic sensibilities of rock. His tone is clear as a bell on “All Over Now” and “Cleared To Fly” while counterpoints by Brecker and thick bass lines by S make you pay attention to the scorecard. Some simple chimed chords on “Is it Summer” lead to some fun shuffle rhythms on “Hands On” while a pastoral “Sending Home” has some breezy fretwork by the composer. Folksy electric blues on “First To Rise” display his heart’s desire, while the title track is a fascinating mix of cheerful 60s pop chords and hip jazz licks provided by a Brecker Brother. Highly impressive and imaginative.
From Audiophile Doug Simpson
Jake Hertzog – Throwback – Zoho ZM 201314, 48:11 (Distr. by Allegro) [11/12/13] ****:
(Jake Hertzog – guitar; Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn (tracks 1-2, 4, 6-7, 9); Harvie S – acoustic and electric bass; Victor Jones – acoustic and electric drums)
Guitarist Jake Hertzog knows rock and jazz. The young musician (he’s not yet 30) is the one-time musical director and lead guitarist for the Naked Brothers Band (a hit on the “Nickelodeon” TV channel) and co-leader of rock group the Young Presidents. On the jazz side, he’s a contributor to Guitar Player magazine, is a jazz award winner (Grand Prize, 2006 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition), and has taught at jazz clinics and master classes around the nation. Hertzog’s previous three albums with his own trio have garnered attention and critical plaudits, and he advances his game on his fourth release,Throwback, issued in late 2013.
Hertzog’s regular rhythm team returns (bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones), but this time Hertzog adds a special guest, trumpeter Randy Brecker, who plays on six of nine tracks. The title concept, Jake explains in the CD’s liner notes, has to do with attitude and methodology. The music specifically has a back-to-basics outlook, and was recorded with a one-day, four-microphone set-up to capture the band in the studio, with few overdubs or audio changes.
Hertzog’s nine originals showcase his varied influences and stylistic ideas. On the refined, brief “Is It Summer,” Harvie S sets the tone with arco bowing on his acoustic bass, while Hertzog presents subtle chords and Jones slips in delicate percussive touches. On the flip is the swing-inflected “Hands On,” a briskly-paced outing stimulated by Jones’ pliable brushwork and ticking sticks, Harvie S’s propulsive walking bass lines and Hertzog’s unencumbered six-string runs. Hertzog dubs the tune’s design as “drunken Thelonious Monk,” meaning it has an off-kilter motion and a nod-and-a-wink demeanor. While the musicianship is serious, “Hands On” displays Hertzog’s lighter mannerism. The trio’s other, relaxed number is “First to Rise,” which deliberately has a Midwestern ambiance akin to some recordings by Pat Metheny,Charlie Haden or Bill Frisell (like those esteemed performers, Hertzog was born in the heartland). This four-minute piece evokes early morning on the prairie or along a flat lake environment, with dew on the grass, fog on the water, the sun clearing the horizon, and maybe some chickens beginning to cluck.
The cuts with Brecker are positive highlights. Hertzog acknowledges he had unquestionable faith Brecker would fit into the arrangements, because Hertzog wanted somebody who could do the jazz playing but understood how rock elements in jazz are able to work: and the Brecker Brothers certainly had that combination and viewpoint. In some contexts, Brecker takes on the role a lead singer would have in a rock band, such as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, U2’s Bono or Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, who are all name-checked by Hertzog in the liner notes. On the lengthy opener, “All Over Now,” this tactic can be heard from the get-go, as Brecker engages the lyrical front line, with shimmering trumpet notes. Brecker also utilizes his trumpet in the function of a vocalist on the quietly building “Sending Home,” which starts as a gentle ballad and gradually intensifies: restraint, in time, is replaced by tension and energy, in ways which, Hertzog says, mirrors or echoes a similar upturn in songs by U2. The forceful, rock-tinted “Cleared to Fly” demonstrates even more interaction between trumpet and guitar, as Brecker and Hertzog trade lines, swap solos, and execute intricateimprovisations. Here, Hertzog reveals his rock music personality with stinging six-string fret runs, while Jones and Harvie S lay down a driving rhythmic underpinning. Things heat up again on the escalating “Entropy” which proves the related, physics hypothesis that forward movement is constant. The dynamic track has several fiery exchanges between guitar and trumpet, in a toe-to-toe, call-and-response fashion. The unrestricted arrangement allows much freedom for Brecker and Hertzog to go wherever the muse takes them, and indeed they go, and go, and go. The quartet combo concludes with the title track, which is pulsed by a rock-saturated push. Brecker stabs the upper register with his horn, as Hertzog bares his technical ability as he flawlessly moves between chords, spontaneous shifts, and single lines. The piece gets added value when Jones inserts a boisterous, rock-based drum solo under the chorusing guitar and trumpet.
Throwback may have been missed by some jazz listeners when it was issued back in November, due to so much good jazz being released in the last few months, but fans of electric guitar and, obviously, Randy Brecker, should investigate this 48-minute excursion. Rob Fraboni’s production is also a plus: there is a robust auditory inclination which emphasizes the rock components (such as electric guitar and bass) while offering a slightly lighter impression to the drums, so they don’t dominate the bottom end like on most rock music albums. Bill Milkowski does his typically considerate writing on the informative album notes.
TrackList: All Over Now; Cleared to Fly; Is It Summer; Entropy; Hands On; Sending Home; Sweet Moon; First to Rise; Throwback.
From Critic Susan Frances
Jazz guitarist Jake Hertzog views his new recording Throwback as his version of U2's Joshua Tree and Pearl Jam's Vs. It is a pinnacle moment in his artistry as a guitarist, a composer, and a band leader. Hertzog has made his mark as a fusion guitarist blending elements of jazz and hard rock. His influences are rooted in alternative and progressive rock resulting in his music to exhibit a hybrid of various factions sometimes melding jagged chord sequences and flusters of thrashing as shown in "Entrophy" and other times drifting off into a lulling slumber like in "Send Home" with the faint wail of Randy Brecker's horn heard in the background. Joined by trumpeter/flugelhornist Randy Brecker, bassist Harvie S, and drummer Victor Jones, Throwback culls spontaneous raptures and melodic expressions into a cohesive collage.
Known for his nimble fretwork and agile picking, Hertzog displays such acumens in "Sweet Moon" moving with serpentine ease as the robust splashing created by the drums produce a frothy effect while Brecker's horns sow a path of flouncing ripples. The silky texture of Hertzog's chords in "Is It Summer" display a romantic luster as the melodic patterns form a suave lullaby tone glittered in sprigs of sparkling synths. Hertzog switches gears in the title track ramping up the tempo and enhancing the density of the resonance in his notes.
The mercurial movements of Hertzog's chords in "All Over Now" alternate between soft and loud producing active oscillations coursing along the melodic progressions. Brecker's horn infuses a Latin-swing tint in "Cleared to Fly" as Hertzog's guitar soars and ebbs and the drums pound profusely as though autonomous from the group. "Hands On" propagates a jovial mood as the musicians engage in a playful exchange then illustrates a mellow gait along "Send Home" as the drums move languidly and the horns vibrate softly. The quartet stays on this theme in "First to Rise" as the gentle caress of Hertzog's chords infuse a succor feel through the melody.
Jake Hertzog truly has his own style. The breadth of his influences crosses over genres and broadens the spectrum of what is considered to denote jazz fusion. There is a fearless streak in his playing that is reminiscent of Pat Metheny and a lyrical versing emblematic of Gene Bertoncini. His instincts for timing are sharp and his ability to be a catalyst spurs the musicians into action.
Jake Hertzog - guitar, Randy Brecker - trumpet and flugelhorn, Harvie S - acoustic and electric bass, and Victor Jones - acoustic and electric drums
All Over Novo, Cleared to Fly, Is It Summer, Entrophy, Hands On, Sending Home, Sweet Moon, First to Rise, Throwback
From Critic Grego Applegate
Jake Hertzog plays an infectious, brash kind of jazz-rock on his album Throwback (Zoho 201314). It's jazz-rock that takes on electric and acoustic components naturally, with style. The ensemble is excellent, with Jake on electric guitar, Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugel, Harvie S on bass and Victor Jones on drums and electric drums.
The material is original Hertzogian and has rock-jazz melodiousness and changes or riff chord rock things. Both modes work well for high-voltage burning and some quieter balladisms.
Randy sounds excellent as always but seems to rise to this music--not surprising because he came up and thrived in this sort of zone. Harvie S and Victor Jones kick it like crazy.
And Jake Hertzog comes across as a very versatile player who can chord it with real grace or solofire in ways that burn but originally, not like somebody else really.
It's a lot of good music to be heard. And Jake has a vision that comes across. The fire of rock, the finesse of jazz. Good going.