Praise for the CD "'The World Is Not Your Home"
"Tour de force... Rogers' saxophone work and overall outlook bring to mind no less than John Coltrane during the latter's period of experimenting with Indian music tonalities… like the master, Rogers is a relentless seeker with an eye beyond borders. Working with five superb musicians… [they] explore freely and wildly, coalescing single-mindedly at that place where it all comes together to form something fresh and exciting. Each track here is a world unto its own, precisely, one would imagine, what Rogers had in mind."
“Top flight musicians… a fusion masterpiece.”
“The World Is Not Your Home is an astonishing piece of work. Perhaps the world has now caught up with David Rogers.”
—Brian Morton, co-author, Penguin Guide to Jazz
"Most up-and-coming tenor saxophonists show off what they have learned from Coltrane, Rollins, Lovano, Getz and other past masters. But Rogers dishes out tenor playing here that cuts through all the tired jazz clichés -- it is almost as if his music sprang up fully formed outside the jazz tradition, without any telltale licks to reveal his sources. Of course, Rogers's long stint in Ghana may have helped open his ears to sounds outside the bop-to-free coordinates that direct most of his peers. His composition "Oboo Ketua Nyom" is inspired by the music of the Dagara and Lobi peoples, and is supported by a drummer and two gyil (pronounced JEE-lee) players. The gyil is a Dagara xylophone, and Rogers builds his solos primarily from pentatonic lines that reflect the scale of this instrument. He moves through slow, fast and medium sections, but in a holistic way that few jazz works achieve. This is world fusion jazz at its finest."
—Ted Gioia, Jazz.com
"5 stars. Rogers is someone who can play, and while it's easy to compare him to every other saxophonist, it's best to just hear him play… [He] enjoys incorporating sounds from around the world, so at any moment he may bring in the tribal sounds of Africa, or percussion sounds that can be heard in South America, or in "La Isla De Reyes" it's a lengthy vacation to Cuba with various solos coming in and out at a pace that may leave people breathless. Rogers is the kind of saxophonist that someone like the late Michael Brecker would be proud of, someone willing to test their limits by playing without them. This is not only a powerful jazz statement, but a musical statement, one of the best to come out this year."
—Music for America
"Drawing heavily from the melodic and rhythmic traditions of Ghana and Cuba... 'Oboo Ketua Nyom' steals the show, setting Rogers against a pair of gyile xylophones for an ecstatic, 11-minute celebration of life."
"Jazz is global. For decades we have seen this art form spread from America around the world. The original source was Africa and the colorful music of composer/ saxophonist David Rogers reflects African and other world influences… Rogers' six originals will impress you with his ability to express emotion and ideas by utilizing all the possibilities of the tenor sax, the importance of his rhythm section (and other rhythm players) and the interesting way in which his compositions unfold… The World Is Not Your Home is an engaging release from an innovative musician. I look forward to hearing more as David Rogers and his new quintet explore the relationship of jazz and world music."
"The World Is Not Your Home is one of a long line of performances that meld the irresistible primal rhythms and sounds of world music with the sophistication and nuances of American jazz. But few American jazz musicians outside of Randy Weston have truly immersed themselves in songs and rhythms of Africa, the Caribbean and other far-flung places on this earth like David Rogers… Listeners of jazz should welcome The World Is Not Your Home seeing the light of day."
—Blog Critics Magazine
"A decade ago, tenor saxophonist David Rogers’ awareness of African music and jazz led him to compose pieces that were a synthesis of these interests and influences. Bringing together a sextet of Detroit’s finest young jazz musicians he recorded these pieces and the session remained unreleased. Ten years can be a long time in the fickle world of jazz/world fusion but The World Is Not Your Home stands up well to this test. This is in large part due to the strength of these compositions and the presence of top flight musicians. Drummer Gerald Cleaver and pianist Craig Taborn are heard here before their arrival and integration into the NYC jazz landscape as is bassist Marion Hayden who has played with violinist Regina Carter in the all-female ensemble Straight Ahead. Along with Rogers’ communicative tenor, Mark Stone’s vibes and assortment of African percussion link the sounds of both gatherings. In addition, the suitably titled 'Mobius Trip' and title tracks, a fusion masterpiece, appear in separate guises… Derek Bermel’s clarinet mixes with tenor for captivating voicings on The World is Not Your Home."
Praise for the CD "Jump for George"
"It's a wonderful sound that the group has; it combines African xylophone, talking drums with American strings and jazz. You're in good company with Debussy and many other great composers who were highly influenced by… music of other cultures."
- George Preston, WNYC-FM 93.9
"An original, yet somehow deeply rooted, musical sound. [They] have found the non-existent link between Appalachian string bands, Ghanaian percussion, downtown jazz and a host of other ideas that miraculously fit together as if they had the deepest of ethnomusical roots."
"Imaginary Homeland brings together African xylophone, percussion, and talking drums with New York jazz and Appalachian fiddle in [a] seemingly impossible fusion. But from the opening strains of ‘Kanawha Girl’ they had me hooked. Here is an old-timey fiddle tune, the melody doubled on saxophone, given a wide-open swing by the acoustic bass, water-drum, frame drum, and body percussion. It moves from the straight traditional tune to rolling improvisations worthy of the best jazz ensembles. With praises to a dozen genres and fealty to none, this quartet is creating an original vocabulary that endorses both jazz and folk as equal partners in their own musical nation."
- Dirty Linen Magazine
"A vibrant, often beautiful brand of global fusion music… Melodies inspired by wandering African violinists wail over talking drums. An African xylophone sings; gourd-instruments shake, rattle and roll; a saxophone sermonizes; a violin resonates with European classical double-stops, then pirouettes from African to Appalachian fancy fiddle riffs… Be sure to tune into Rogers’ all-embracing, spirited, spiritual sounds on this delightful disc."
- Hartford Courant
“Rogers is an inventive and charismatic saxist, and as a bandleader he’s savvy enough to make optimal use of what he’s got: that’s not a mere violin Rice is sawing in the opening track, ‘Kanawha Girl’; it’s bona fide crazy-ass African hillbilly fiddle. When Rogers and Stone duel it out on lunndogo talking drums in their ‘Travelogue,’ you might as well be in the heart of an alternative African universe’s own Bonnaroo jam-band land. .. [In] the synthesis of jazz and world music… Rogers' pieces could only have been conjured via one thoroughly invested in the multiple traditions being considered--think Coltrane's relationship to Indian music.”
- Global Rhythm Magazine
"We hear a great deal of talk about the fusion of different world musics… Far rarer, then, is… a group of musicians who, despite playing the same assortment of instruments from moment to moment, can affect a protean, globe-spanning attitude toward different musics… Imaginary Homeland, who really seem to grasp what it is to speak all of the world's languages fluently, have mastered that approach. From Appalachian folk chants to African rhythms and melodies to the Latin flavors of 'El Sonero', Imaginary Homeland's saxophone, violin, upright bass and percussion chart a course that is respectful of musical traditions, but seems blissfully unaware of the lines that divide them."
"These four make music that combines the best of contemporary jazz techniques with West African instruments, melodies, and rhythms. Unlike some world music amalgams, Imaginary Homeland is made up of musicians steeped in both traditions, who delve into the deeper mysteries of these cultures. Rogers is a melodic tenor player who doubles easily on talking drum, and Rice slips easily from Western violin playing to West African fiddling. All this is done with an infectious, lilting passion. The music makes you want to get up and dance, but you never want to stop listening!"
- Ann Arbor Observer
"Ever been to a Ghanaian hoedown? Ever met an Appalachian griot? If not, welcome to the world of Imaginary Homeland, a world where an ocean doesn't stand in the way of Afro-Appalacian-jazz collaboration. The CD opens with 'Kanawha Girl,' a name explained in the liner notes to come from the first choice of West Virginians for their pro-Union breakaway territory. Hand-drumming (Mark Stone), acoustic bass (Matt Pavolka), and sax (David Rogers) cruise along in a vaguely Afrojazz locale, until Marlene Rice's fiddling brings it back to Americana. The paired sax and violin on 'Mobius Trip' might bring to your lips the term 'ethnic jazz.' And 'Jump for George' has bass runs and sax riffs that would be at home in a jazz trio. But with the jazz elements accompanied by prominent hand drumming, bells, rattles, and xylophone, the 'jazz' label fails to encompass the fresh spirit of this music."
- Spin the Globe, KAOS Radio
"Recommended new listening. Tenor saxophonist David Rogers… spent an extended period of time in Africa and immersed himself in the Ghanaian musical culture of the Dagbamba people. While there, he assimilated their drum-language and horse hair fiddle compositional forms into his already well-grounded mix of Africa and jazz. Upon returning to NYC, he composed and recorded a new blend based on his greater appreciation of the interrelationship of not only jazz, but also Appalachian fiddle, to the music of West Africa… Enough cannot be said for violinist Marlene Rice. She thrills with exciting jazz and captivating Appalachian techniques that cross continents. Rogers also displays his mastery of the 'talking drum' or lunna on several cuts, most notably the worldly funk of 'Travelogue'… [A] complex and stylistically mature quilt of jazz, Appalachia and Africa."
"Proof that music is a universal language… this fact reveals Rogers' restless spirit, a trait common to all great jazz men… He composed all of the songs… many of which feature his exquisite reed solos."
More praise for Imaginary Homeland
“In a time when it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of musical influences today's musicians confront, it is refreshing to hear approaches to synthesis which go beyond superficial skimming and actually involve a genuine assimilation and integration. In your music, African and jazz influences, among other things, are intertwined in a highly organic manner, generating unique and compelling hybrids.”
- Professor Ed Sarath, Chair of Jazz Studies, University of Michigan
"Truly a highlight of this year's Professional Artists Series! The group performed with a high level of musicianship and outstanding ensemble work. This was new jazz as great chamber music. Your compositions offered our audience a rich and original kind of global music-combining counterpoint with improvisation, African instruments with Western strings."
- Jackie Wiggins, Chair, Music Department, Oakland University
"Imaginary Homeland dishes up a unique sonic meal which skillfully blends African musical influences with contemporary jazz. Bandleader Dave Rogers's dark, joyful compositions feature melodies that somersault across the barlines in unpredictable syncopations and enjambements. Rogers's peppery, motivic utterances on the saxophone provide a savory counterpoint to the soaring flow of Marlene Rice's violin. Percussionist Mark Stone's manic virtuosity--fusing Ghanaian, Ugandan, and American musical traditions--combines with Matt Pavolka's passionate bass lines to create an rich and varied polyrhythmic underpinning. It's an ensemble that speaks softly and carries a big groove."
- Derek Bermel, composer, Guggenheim fellow, Rome Prize winner
More praise for music by David Rogers:
“Rhythmically vital… a fluid Afropop-jazz-classical hybrid.”
-- The New York Times
“[A] visionary jazz and world-music saxophonist/composer”
– Hartford Courant
“Proof that music is a universal language… this fact reveals Rogers' restless spirit, a trait common to all great jazz men… He composed all of the songs… many of which feature his exquisite reed solos.”