Saturday, October 24, 2009

Darius Jones - Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009)

Darius Jones has built quite a reputation as an instrumentalist and composer since moving to New York City a few years ago. Playing with open minded groups led by downtown luminaries like Mike Pride and William Hooker have prepared him well for this impressive debut album. Jones leads on alto saxophone, along with Cooper-Moore on piano and diddley-bow, Rakalam Bob Moses on drums with Adam Lane on bass and Jason Nazary on drums sitting in on the final track. After opening the album with the slow and raw invocation "Roosevelt," the trio moves into a strong performance with "Cry Out" which features raw and deep saxophone playing building to a fast pace, and featuring some fine piano as well. "We Are Unicorns" has some blistering saxophone developing long tones along with the unique sound of Cooper-Moore's diddly-bow. "Meekness" mellows things out a bit, with Jones' saxophone rising like the morning sun backed by lush piano cording. "Salty" moves into a more abstract realm with alto and diddley-bow and percussion creating a wide open soundscape. "Chasing the Ghost" has an uptempo and strong diddley-bow building to fast collective improvisation. An urgent conclusion makes this one of the most exciting tracks on the album. "Big Train Rollin" and "Forgive Me" slow down the pace a little bit, moving some deeply controlled saxophone over light and probing percussion. The disc closes on a very high not with the bonus track "Chaych" with Lane and Nazary backing Jones, who gets a brawny tone on sax and builds a Mingus like aura of emotion and power. The group then takes things out deep with raw free epic blowing in a powerful performance. I liked this album a lot, it had a searching, seeking tone that was emotionally resonant and very impressive.
Man'ish Boy -

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