Thursday, October 27, 2011

Darius Jones - Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) (AUM Fidelity, 2011)

Since alto saxophonist Darius Jones moved north from Virginia to New York City in 2005, he has created quite a splash with his own work as a leader and sideman, and as part of the punk-jazz collective Little Women. Accompanied by his working band which consists of Adam Lane on bass and Jason Nazary on drums, the music has the spaciousness to move from bop-based jazz to free music, using space as a malleable entity. Jones uses his raw saxophone tone to develop texture and density to great effect on “E-Gaz” where ripe saxophone tone wails over thick bass and drums, building from medium up to strong trio, piercing saxophone, honks and squeals pealing, pure excitement. There is a feature for bowed bass and raw saxophone as a duet, very cool in developing an excellent synergy between their instruments. The trio develops as an organic entity, mindfully channelling their own transitory nature on “A Train.” Developing from fast rolling drums and keening saxophone developing an Ornette Coleman like feel of outstanding intensity and raw powerful punk-jazz, accented by a raw scraping bowed bass solo. The group is in the moment, playing with great compassion on “Michelle Heart Willie,” the closest the music comes to a traditional ballad with an almost romantic, longing emotional sax tone from Jones at a medium tempo improvisation and another excellent bass solo from Lane. While the music can be bracing in its intensity like on the set ending “Ol’ Metal Faced Bastard,” there are no theatrics in the music. The grow from the artifacts of music past, the emotional music of Mingus, Coltrane and Dolphy, and building them into a postmodern brew which bodes well for the future of jazz. Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) -

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