The Paul Renz Quintet’s latest release, ReBop, is classic bebop with weaving lines and chord brulees that have reflections of Joe Henderson, as the fidgety organ keys and whirling flute and bass schemes illuminate a bossa nova twinkle. It’s an album for bop enthusiasts of all ages demonstrating a mastery of bebop switches and classic jazz tonality. Produced by bandleader/guitarist Paul Renz, ReBop is an inviting piece of work that lets audiences experience the pomp and finessed glides of bop-jazz.
The binding chords and regalia etched in the harmonies along the title track show a studious rapport in the ministrations and manual dexterity of the musicians. Renz, who is heard of the Department of Jazz Studies at the West Band School of Music in Minneapolis, shows that the practices what he teaches. The melodic layers adhere to a complex simplicity, so though the music sounds simple, it takes a great deal of training to perform. The music will pause and then start up again intermittently along "Sloppy Joe," which takes good discipline and tightness in the band. Of course, for the audience, it is confusing because just when you think the song is finished, the band reawakens it from its slumber.
Renz’s playing displays diligent fretwork and a strong sense of melodic phrasing so even when he revs up his timing through the segments of "Sambatude," he works his grooves into the fabric of the composition. The contouring of the tracks is smooth and bends like a winding brook across a valley. The elegant lines of "Farewell HP" are soothing and have a traditional flare as Renz and his band pay tribute to his hero, Herb Pomeroy. The energized wavelets of guitar and bass lines along "Ayo’s Hat" have a lively boppish pulsation which tethers the spirited movements and sprightly instrument encounters along the final track "Dish It Up."
Paul Renz’s quintet shows themselves not only to be students of bop-jazz, but also architects of this style. This is music that jazz clubs around the world would let in the door. It is rare when a teacher can make the transition to a powerful live performer, and the Paul Renz Quintet passes that threshold test with ReBop.