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David Eyges: Ace (2005)

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David Eyges: Ace No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It's a risky venture to record an album based purely on improvisation. Cellist David Eyges, saxophonist Arthur Blythe, and drummer Abe Speller took a chance going into the studio armed solely with their own individual spontaneous creativity; they left with ten tracks that travel hesitantly through arid realms of a jazz wasteland, reaching desperately for snatches of blues, R&B, and heavy metal.

The title track is the most cohesive of the bunch, with the trio allowing a relaxed flow to infiltrate its playing. But the album soon becomes burdened with conflicting ideas that translate into a profoundly sparse sound. The ace of hearts on the cover recalls not the glamour of a Las Vegas craps game, but the ashen faces at a Foxwoods blackjack table.

Eyges' free jazz seems uncomfortable among Blythe's transient saxophone solos, which could have really developed with the presence of a stronger collectivity. On "Gulls, Blythe takes the lead, propelling the music into a greater dimension, but Eyges hangs on to the horn's phrases dragging it back with a grounding repetition of a few notes.

As the cellist spins the trio into a dizzy head banger's ball with relentless drilling on "L.J., Blythe attempts to lift the sound into a more amicable level with thoughtful meanderings. But the group just seems stuck in incongruity.

Speller helps create a unity with a mid-tempo rock beat on "Waiting For Bob that liaisons affectively between Eyges' "tip-toeing through Castle Grayskull and Blythe's laid-back blowing.

Eyges unleashes the bow for "Trudy and Speller breaks out the brushes, resulting in a dusty environ complimented by Blythe's deep, breezy notes on sax. Eyges' melodies sound vaguely ancient and wise, while Speller trudges through the sandy terrain in one of the album's few poignant moments.


Track Listing: Ace; There You Go; All Those Years; Trudy L.J.; Blues for Mary; Channel; Gulls; Waiting for Bob; Parade

Personnel: Arthur Blythe Alto Sax; David Eyges Electric Cello; Abe Speller Drums

Record Label: MidLantic Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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