Multi-talented bassist, composer and producer Zack Teran assembles a quartet of like-minded colleagues to present a strong original sound on his debut, Portalis. Teran adroitly balances a rhythmic groove informed by modern electronic music with the harmonic contours of modern jazz and timbral spectrum of mid-2000s indie rock, and vividly channels his impressions from time spent in the mountain landscapes of the American West.
Although Portalis is his first album as a leader, Zack Teran is a well-traveled member of the Northern Nevada musical community. Based in Reno, he has worked with an extensive list of figures from the greater jazz community including Peter Epstein, Adam Benjamin (Kneebody) and Art Lande and additionally, co-leads the folk-rock quartet, the Novelists, which has toured nationally to widespread acclaim for nearly 10 years. Teran's unique aptitude for covering multiple roles on the bass is proven by his masterful ability to anchor and lead groups simultaneously. He manages this balance with fluid melodicism, warm tone and precise, yet relaxed feel.
Teran's intention on Portalis is to offer a sense of place removed from the artificial environs of the city. Each of the ten tracks were inspired by remote journeys into the scenic terrain just outside of Reno and Boulder where Teran has made his home over the past decade. Stylistically, tracks such as “The Keyhole” and “Quake Delivery” reflect on a life and fluency operating in any number of popular music disciplines. They display the diversity of Teran’s open and osmosis-like musical consumption, which is evident in how varied influences intersect seamlessly across tracks.
Beyond the presence of nature as the driving force on Portalis, Teran takes occasion to express some sociopolitical commentary on tracks like “Standing Rock,” a hymn-like reflection honoring the mass protests against the installation of the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota. Teran's intention in this piece is to remind people of both the heightened level of consciousness offered by nature and the threats posed to open spaces by non-sustainable life practices. As the playing between group members here is communal and synergistic, Teran's hope is to inspire people to live along similar lines between themselves and the remote places that inspired this music.
Joining Teran on Portalis are longtime collaborators Chris Gillette on tenor saxophone, Brandon Sherman on trumpet and Miguel Jimenez-Cruz on drums. With this ensemble and set of tunes, Teran offers a sincerely personal statement that invites audiences to engage with music as a sustainable and holistic life practice, creating accessibility to performers and listeners alike.