Sunday, March 22, 2020

Curt Sydnor - Deep End Shallow (Out of Your Head Records, 2020)

Keyboardist and composer Curt Sydnor was fascinated by the breadth of talent that was concentrated in Brooklyn in the mid Twenty-Teens. He developed this album as a fantasia, presenting a melange of all of the sounds and textures of the different styles and music scenes that a working musician would have experienced while living in that borough around 2016. Bringing together a talented and open minded band featuring Sydnor on keyboards and vocals, Caroline Davis on saxophone, Greg Saunier on drums and Aaron Dugan on guitar with some guests sitting in on various tracks. You see how wide ranging and adventurous the group is during the lengthy sections of bright progressive rock and jazz fusion influenced elements that carry a multitude of rhythms which keep the music moving briskly and then suddenly everything stops for an acoustic piano solo, "Fieldgaze Variations." Beginning in an elegiac fashion, then turning exploratory, Sydnor moves all about the keyboard in search of melody and beauty, building a sense of classical music to the music which unfolds like a recital. Then "Deep End Shallow" turns back into monster electro-jazz rhythm jam, with smears of keyboard and crushing drums. Davis's horn adds a freer more avant edge as disconnected voices are added to the thick mix. "Well of Stares" concludes the album with a base of funky avant techno electronic that allows the music to ebb and flow dynamically adding long drones to use as texture and gradually conclude. This album worked very well, the musicians are deeply talented in their ability to play in different genres and juggling multiple rhythms and manners of playing. The compositions were well designed and thoughtful, bringing the listener back to an important time in the composers life and career, while playing and improvising music that is completely alive and in the moment. Deep End Shallow -

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