Jason Adasiewicz

Jason Adasiewicz thought of the Rolldown as a collective when he formed it in 2003. He says, “I think most of us saw our projects this way, but there was always one person writing most of it.” “We would always choose a name for the group rather than putting our names on it. It’s been clear over the years that the Rolldown is all about me. I now accept that. With Varmint, Varmint’s second album, it is clear that Adasiewicz, vibraphonist, is the one running the show. This despite the amazing support he receives from Josh Berman, Aram Shelton and Jason Roebke as well as drummer Frank Rosaly. Adasiewicz has been one of the most dynamic vibraphonists in the world since the beginning of the band. Adasiewicz has become a Chicago fixture, contributing to many groups including Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra and Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly. He also helped with the Nicole Mitchell Quartet, Berman’s Old Idea, Shelton’s Arrive, Berman’s Old Idea, Berman’s Old Idea, Berman’s Old Idea, Berman’s Old Idea, Berman’s Old Idea, Shelton’s Arrive, and Berman’s Old Idea. He admits that he has reached a point where people recognize him from the side work he’s done. He wants people to listen to his music. Since he first heard the vibes in his high school drum lessons, he has come a long ways. He had never heard of them or known any of their key practitioners. He was born in Crystal Lake, Illinois on October 14, 1977. The vibraphone charmed him enough to save enough money to purchase one. However, he remained focused on jazz drumming through his years at DePaul University. The school was home to him for three years. His classmates included Amir ElSaffar, a trumpeter, and Jon Irabagon, a saxophonist. After he graduated, he went on to play in various art rock bands, including Bablicon, Central Falls and Pinetop Seven. He also played in jazz combos. He recalls that “that was my outlet for traveling” “The only jazz band I had was Andiamo, a late 90s unit featuring Berman, Jon Doyle and Joel Root. Adasiewicz was able to start writing tunes with this combination, but the band disintegrated after Root left. His girlfriend Valerie Keller, who is now his wife, decided to move to Madison for graduate school. He followed her to Madison in 2002. He says, “I was in love with Val and it seemed cool to live with her.” He also wanted to get away from Chicago’s rock scene. “I was getting burned out by the scene in Chicago at the time. I was really glad to escape it.|It was a great relief to be able to get away from it.} He got a job in Madison at an organic farm. Although horticulture was his main passion, he also enjoyed woodshedding with the vibes alone. “I was frightened for a while by the Bach violin sonatas, and partitas that fit perfectly on my vibraphone. He began to compose with abandon. He says, “I had all these tunes written but I didn’t have an outlet to share them with anyone.” Rolldown was thus born three hours away from the rest of the group. He was still visiting Chicago at least once a week by the end of his time in Madison. He had made a remarkable improvement on his instrument since leaving Madison in 2004. Adasiewicz seemed to be trying to smash the vibraphone into the ground at one gig. But when he returned, he had cooled down and displayed a newfound melodic maturity. Rolldown’s 2005 debut, which was released in 2008, was a great record that attracted many comparisons to Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch. However, the vibist never found it to be a major inspiration. We have a vibraphone and a trumpet and an alto-saxophone. We swing, we come out and in, so Out to Lunch is definitely there, but I’ve never sat down to dissect that record. Andrew Hill, the pianist whose song “The Griots”, is featured here by the quintet, is cited as an even greater influence. Varmint is a quantum leap in the writing of the band’s leader and the ensemble sound. He says, “It helps there’s so many crossover between the different bands we have.” “You are constantly playing with these people, and I believe a cohesiveness has been developed with all these projects.” Adasiewicz claims that his new tunes sound more swinging, and he has also taken an interest in creating tunes with variations. Only Hide and Punchbug don’t use progressions. The record’s sonic quality is also something he is proud of, as it was engineered by Mark Haines, Madison’s Electrical Audio. The recording captures the sound of a live band, with the quintet’s music filling the room naturally. He says, “Right now, I’m really hungry for my music to get out there.” He has been writing like mad over the past few years. Let’s just hope his enthusiasm for music continues to grow with Varmint’s success. Adasiewicz is a great leader and has a way to make every group sound better. But, hearing him lead his own band with his own tunes, that’s just super burning. From umbrellamusic.org

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