Dimitri Vassilakis: Parallel Lines (2006)
In his liner notes, Vassilakis cites Rollins' Freedom Suite with Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach as the chief inspiration for Parallel Lines. The new album is built around a 25-minute suite of three original compositions"Parallel Lines," "Little One," and "Ocean," recorded in July '03to which Vassilakis returned in the studio a year later, taking bass loops from the originals and overdubbing new saxophone and drum parts, creating shorter versions which he has retitled with the suffix "Groove." The closing track, "The Drum Think," recorded in early '05, is a saxophone/drums duet which revisits both the original and the "Groove" trilogies. Each track at some point refers back to the same four-note chord in the key of C.
If all this sounds a little drawn out, contrived, and monotonous, it is none of those things: the music is fresh, organic, and energised. Ideas tumble out of Vassilakis' tenor (he plays soprano only occasionally)and there's a depth to his tone which reminds you, happily, of Rollins and, while Vassilakis rarely uses split notes or harmonics, another notable Rollins descendant, David S. Ware. Essiet Okon Essiet and Jeff Tain Watts both contribute passionate solos (on "Ocean" and "Little One" respectively), but most of the album is Vassilakis', and he strides out with vigour and sustained invention.
A very fine album from a player who is only now approaching first maturity.
Track Listing: Parallel Lines; Little One; Ocean; Swinging Second; Soul Eyes; James; Ocean Groove; Little One Groove; Parallel Lines Groove; The Drum Think.
Personnel: Dimitri Vassilakis: tenor and soprano saxophones, drums (7-10), vocals (9); Essiet Okon Essiet: bass (1-9); Jeff Tain Watts: drums (1-7).
Record Label: Candid Records
Style: Modern Jazz