Friday, February 22, 2013

David Weiss and Point of Departure - Venture Inward (Posi-Tone, 2013)

This studio LP was recorded the day before Weiss’ band was recorded live for two subsequent albums, and it makes a tidy companion piece for the trilogy of this particular group. The band consists of David Weiss on trumpet, J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Nir Felder on guitar, Luques Curtis on bass and Jamire Williams on drums. Naming the group after a famous Andrew Hill album Point of Departure, clues you in that this band is interested in adventurous hard bop performances that allow plenty of soloing opportunities for members of the group, sometimes sounding like a relay race of solo statements.“I Have a Dream” features a well-constructed medium tempoed trumpet solo with gentle guitar comping and deft drumming. Allen’s saxophone enters at a low flame and makes a solid statement as the drums continue to simmer below. A low-toned serpentine guitar solo snakes its way through before the whole group comes together once again.Weiss and Allen harmonize very well together on “Black Comedy” with the leader punching through the fog for a potent solo. A witty improvisation is built into “Number 4” which features Allen with an agile and questioning saxophone solo, straining at the form of the music. The band throttles back dynamically and leaves a wide open space for Williams to solo with patience and tact. The group mines a modern hard-bop vibe on “Venture Inward” with the leader's trumpet having an immediate and forceful impact. Felder keeps things moving with a flowing even-keeled guitar interlude. This was a well done and exploratory, recording where the group pushes the limits of the hard-bop idiom, working very well as an ensemble and allowing each member of the group to demonstrate their skills in solo statements. The music here is modernized hard-bop polished to a sparkling shine. It’s not glib however, they mean every note and play for keeps. Venture Inward -

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