Jeremy Udden is one of those outstanding working musicians on the scene in Brooklyn. A saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, he is—like so many musicians of his generation—influenced by a variety of things outside what is known as jazz, and his music reflects that. He's developed a band called Plainville that offers a different sound and feel. A different tapestry on which musicians can subtly embroider their improvisations. A different mosaic.
Out of the New England Conservatory, he cut his teeth in bands like the Either/Orchestra and stayed in that organization for about seven years. He eventually landed himself in New York City, but he spent time in China and thought of staying there. This year, moving to Stockholm was on his mind. But all the while, he's pushing new projects and is excited about his distinctive band—sax, electric keyboards including organ, banjo, bass and drums—that produces music with an almost-folk quality.
"The band is called Plainville because that's the name of the small town that I grew up in, in Massachusetts," says Udden. The band's previous album was also titled Plainville (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2009). "It continues to be a reflection of getting in touch with that, which is definitely a quieter time in my life, a more peaceful time in my life. Also, it's a reflection of the different music I've been into over those years."
If the Past Seems So Bright (Sunnyside Records, 2011) is Udden's third album as a leader. It shows his compositional skills as well as his abilities on saxophone. There are also things beneath the surface, like how he melds the instrumentation and allows his band mates to have a personal say.