Saturday, September 26, 2020

Second Sight - Tiger Tracks (Sunjump Records, 2020)

Second Sight was an excellent modern jazz band consisting of Dave Douglas on trumpet, Jeff Marx on tenor and soprano saxophone, John Esposito on piano, Allen Murphy on bass, Jeff Siegel on drums and Frederick Berryhill on percussion. This album was recorded in 1987 when the group was performing live regularly but were let down by management leaving the record to languish until now. The music opens with "Arrival," which is a brief interlude of cool percussion sounds developing an African groove. "Dai Yat Lo" comes out fast with a hard swinging post bop head sounding urgent, with cooking piano, bass and drums and featuring a robust tenor saxophone solo to boot. There is room for spacious trumpet with brushes and elastic bass, keeping spirits high. Rising tones in theme of "Fu Jow Pai" form a majestic theme followed by the full band developing a boiling pace, with crashing drums and tenor saxophone soloing amid thick bass. Douglas adds raw trumpet accents, slow and probing, becoming brisk and punchy with crisp group support. Heavy drums anchor the rhythm section, allowing everyone to stretch out, then heading back to the blustery theme. "Harlequin's Child" has a quieter medium tempo full group opening theme, developing a ballad sensibility, with descending bass and long trumpet tones, aided by graceful piano and dancing cymbals. Strong bounding piano along side cool bass and drums are key to "Point Transit" with grand reeds pushing forward strongly, and a rippling a muscular trumpet solo sounding very impressive, playing at length making this a real keeper, adding a lengthy structured sax solo with some trumpet support that is very exciting, a sweet treat for all concerned. "Pressure Makes Diamonds" features appropriately slamming drums and percussion, complex rhythm horns arcing overhead adding a deep raw tenor solo delving fast and loose among the thicket of percussion building a scorcher of a feature out of it. Douglas's trumpet builds equally strong solo with drum set driving fiercely. "Harlequin's Child Alternate Take" shows the group at a mid tempo, patiently stating the theme, as thoughtful trumpet playing evolves with fine bass support, followed by a graceful saxophone solo which weaves around the anchoring bass. Using a fast post bop theme that swings hard, "Dai Yat Lo Alternate Take" releases a strong ripe tenor saxophone to solo over urgent rhythm section for a fast paced run. The trumpet builds solo gradually, to rippling fast segment, then back to strong theme for the end. Many of the composition on the album display Esposito's interest in martial arts, and it comes through in the music, which is angular and athletic, and clearly made by a band that was deeply in tune with one another, and the results are very impressive. Tiger Tracks - amazon.com

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