Thursday, March 02, 2017

David Weiss and Point of Departure - Wake Up Call (Ropeadope, 2017)

The Point of Departure band has some new faces and a new focus, adding elements of classic fusion to their hard bop format. The adjustments allow the group to become a more adventurous ensemble, adding elements of freedom to the music, while also giving them the option to switch grooves from swing to funk to fusion in complex passages very quickly. The new lineup has David Weiss on trumpet and keyboards, Ben Eunson, Travis Reuter and Nir Felder playing guitar,  Myron Walden and JD Allen on saxophones, Matt Clohesy on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. The music is developed as a suite, beginning with "Sanctuary" and "Two Faced" which offer majestic thematic statements that evolve into powerful improvised sections, and the leader delivers punchy and potent trumpet solos over a ripe beat. "Two Faced" is quite a long performance but it holds up due to the strength of the soloing and ensemble play. "Multidirection" has a choppy theme, with some interesting drumming and guitar accents. Fast and nimble saxophone soloing is also present here, and the musicians twist and turn the melody to build new shapes and structures, with a strong trumpet solo taking charge and leading the music forward, with the full band taking on a boiling and fiery edge before moving to a subtle section for guitar, bass and drums. Hard hitting drumming and strong brass open "Gzazelle" which sounds like a long-lost late '60's Miles Davis track in its muscular angularity. A plentiful saxophone solo breaks out over propulsive drumming and then the trumpet slides in for another exciting statement over relentless drumming. "Pee Wee" feature a knotty and exciting section for guitar and percussion jousting. Another highlight is "Sojourn" which has tight interplay especially between the expressive trumpet and firing drums. There is a tight fitting guitar solo, as the drums keep the music moving at a brisk pace. There is a rich vein of material to explore in the bop to fusion area, and the band mines it admirably. The ensemble cast works very well and the music and arrangements all play to their strengths. Wake Up Call -

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