, who, at age 28 appears ready to take the world by storm. White has almost twenty years of experience playing gospel musicobvious by the great liberties he uses to transform this music while retaining a visceral authenticity.
There are three radically different versions of the title track here, but the opening take on I'll Fly Away, is a stunner. Over the dark and wood-grain pulse of Denson, White expounds like a player-piano infused with the holy spirit, as well as a liberal dash of Cecil Taylor
Indeed, much of what makes this disc so satisfying is the open embrace of dissonant textures and audacious harmonic choiceswhich add depth to a program imbued with joyous consonance. Denson's pizzicato intro to "Down at the Cross," is deep, dark and soulful and White's sparkling lyricism compares very favorably to similar work by Keith Jarrett
like tone. "When the Saints Go Marching In," emerges drastically retooled, and the two improvisers exploit the altered form as a vehicle to dart in and around oncoming traffic with spontaneous ideas. White's unbridled virtuosity is loosed on "Just As I Am," as waves of impressions pile atop each other in dense, violent layers.
Beautifully recorded by Adam Munoz at the iconic Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, this recording captures Denson's huge sound in great detail, especially in the solo bass reading of "Crying in the Chapel," where it moans like a wounded leviathan. The delicate waltz of the penultimate tune, "In the Garden," begins with almost classical gestures, but by the time the body of the tune emergesa more modern exchange of singing voices dominates.
One of the finest bass and piano discs to surface in a long time, I'll Fly Away, is worth seeking out.
Track Listing: I'll Fly Away (Version One; Lord I want to be a Christian; Down at the Cross; Amazing Grace; I'll Fly Away (Version Two); What a Friend We Have in Jesus; When the Saints Go Marching In; Just As I Am; Crying in the Chapel; In the Garden; I'll Fly Away (Version Three).
Personnel: Jeff Denson: double-bass; Joshua White: piano