Let Sound Tell All
The Juilliard-level pianist and genre-hopping sideman with A$AP Rocky, Meshell Ndegeocello, and more makes his imaginative debut at age 23 with Let Sound Tell All. Rodriguez’s acoustic-jazz chops are formidable from the start of the hard-swinging “Blues at the Barn.” But already on this opener, there’s an intriguing blend between gritty lo-fi sound and more polished studio production, even within the same track. Rodriguez and co-producer Drew Ofthe Drew set ambitious goals and conjure a sonic atmosphere that avoids the obvious. Mariah Cameron’s vocal on the Stevie Wonder song (and Tammi Terrell vehicle) “All I Do” sounds straight from the ’60s in its production values yet somehow fresh and searching. Samara Joy takes command of the hymnlike “In Heaven,” an affecting piano-voice duo with just the subtlest touch of Moog bass. Rodriguez colors the kinetic “Gift of the Moon” with warm Rhodes and adds just the right wisps of Hammond organ on “Where Grace Abounds.” Morgan Guerin’s tenor sax (and electric bass) on “Two Way Street” is astonishing. The roster shifts continually: trumpeter Giveton Gelin, bassists Daryl Johns and Philip Norris, and drummers Joe Saylor and Jongkuk Kim are a few of the other top players on board.