Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dominic Duval, Jimmy Halperin and Brian Willson - Music of John Coltrane (NoBusiness, 2010)

There have been many tributes to the great tenor saxophonist John Coltrane since his passing, and the years have done nothing to dull the power of his music. This is a heartfelt nod to Coltrane from a collective group consisting of Dominic Duval on bass, Jimmy Halperin on tenor saxophone and Brian Willson on drums. The group plays music from each phase of Coltrane's influential career, and they make their own personal statements from these well known compositions. Opening with "Giant Steps," the music has a strong trio improvisation. Halperin's tone is deep and dark on the tenor saxophone, yet he is patient and allows the music to come to him, building in hints of melody and developing a strong swing. A nimble bass and drum interlude takes us back to a fast paced trio finale. "Moments Notice" develops strong and free, and moves to a choppy melody with caustic saxophone leading the way. Duval's bass is deep and potent and provides a pivot point for the saxophone meltdown that drives the performance home. The group takes a subtle approach to "Living Space" with probing bass and high pitched tenor saxophone grappling for purchase. They develop an abstract improvisation on the dark theme of the song that gives way to seeking and scalding collective playing. "Syeeda's Song Flute" gets a swirling melodic introduction featuring fast and strong bass playing and sweeping drums. The trio delves deep into the song before splitting off into a bass solo with subtle percussion and a return to the melody. The ballad "Naima" has swirls of saxophone and big hearted bass along with delicate brushwork creating a spacious and patient performance. "Pursuance," one of the movements of Coltrane's classic album A Love Supreme finishes the album with a torrid statement of the theme, and then a series of fascinating abstract improvisations up on the line. This was a well done and heartfelt tribute to a man that continues to inspire generations of musicians. The performances are reverent to the Coltrane legacy, but the musicians inject their own stories into the performances which gives the music added resonance and power. Music of John Coltrane - NoBusiness Records

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