Monday, May 30, 2016

Dave King Trucking Company - Surrounded By the Night (Sunnyside, 2016)

Drummer and composer Dave King is well known for his propulsive work in a number of different bands. In its third recording, Surrounded By The Night, the Trucking Company has solidified its identity with new material and a slightly changed lineup of Eric Fratzke on guitar, Chris Morrissey on bass, Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and clarinet and Brandon Wozniak on tenor saxophone. The album opens with subtle “Delta Kreme” which has gentle percussion and sweet saxophone developing a yearning feel over quietly percolating guitar, bass and drums. There is a much more urgent rhythm to “Parallel Sister Track,” and the saxophones move together to the front as the music surges forward, showing great dynamics before slowly fading back. There is a mild toned saxophone solo from Chris Speed, with some heavy lifting from the guitar, bass and drums unit, and this is juxtaposed nicely by a more brawny toned tenor saxophone solo from Brandon Wozniak before the group returns to its dynamic shifting and closes the performance. The wittily titled “You Should be Watching (Art) Films” is as fun as its name, with riffing horns and swinging cymbals opening the music up and then Fratzke’s guitar offering some sparks. He bows back out and then there is a section of very cool sounding saxophone, bass and drums playing wide open in free space. “Glamour Shot” is fast and full sounding with a thick and true beat. The milder saxophone returns to soar and glide overhead, taking a beautifully improvised solo, before returning to the fray of slashing drums and saxophones. The swirling and swanky theme of “That Isn’t Even Worth Selling” makes room for an excellent bass solo from Chris Morrissey backed by King’s percussion and then moving on to add sultry tenor saxophone grinding against bass and drums on open space to excellent effect. The album ends with a blast, as “Don’t Be the Suspect of a Gift” lifts off with growling electric guitar and heavy drums, which in turn launch the saxophones as a countermeasure. This leads to a full out collective out collective improvisation that is a lot of fun to listen to as the band goes all out to the finish line. King began the Trucking Company to play song-based material, from jazz and the avant-garde but also rock, country and the blues, and it is the bands talent and endless curiosity about all of these forms that makes this album so successful. Surrounded By The Night -

Send comments to Tim.