Agogic: Agogic (2011)
D'Angelo and Vu picked drummer Evan Woodle and bassist Luke Bergman for the rhythm section. Their instincts are spot on, as the two drive the pulse and create an organic bottom for their front men. And given their wont, D'Angelo and Vu find their muse in several streams that explore, explode, orchestrate and turn in tangents and trajectories that sweep and surprise.
The beat nestles on the edge of funk, and the bass clarinet and trumpet ensemble lines are seamlessly orchestrated as "En Se Ne' opens. Then begins a dance around the concept. Vu flutters in and across the melody, with interjections from D'Angelo adding to the thrust. The pulse begins to radiate heat, as Vu ups the intensity before it all simmers and calm descends. The wheel has come full circle, with abandon and control turning out to be comfortable playmates.
The soft, silken tones of the trumpet greet "Acid Kiss," before it dissolves into an abstract frame. Vu seems content ensconced in the melody as Woodle adds vibrant hues on the drums and Bergman keeps the pulse pegged with spaced notes. But statis is not for the inventive, and change is vented by angularities that cut a deep gorge. Vu rides out into a seemingly fathomless swell of invention, loosening the fetters of the composition with incendiary abstractions, while D'Angelo balances with the melody, before shooting into the upper registers of his saxophone. In the turmoil and the calm, logic has not been defied by substance.
Could the quartet actually be playing a waltz in honor of "Felicia"? They certainly are, even as the tempo changes a tad as Bergman and Woodle come up front. But ,in the final analysis, it is the emotive depth that D'Angelo and Vu inject, even when they move out from the core of the composition, before returning to its soul.
Agogic has delivered a stunning debut, harnessing both energy and finesse, taking the music to exceptional heights.
Track Listing: En Se Ne; Two Well; Acid Kiss; Old Heap; Felicia; Use 2; Gently Shifting Next.
Personnel: Andrew D'Angelo: saxophone, bass clarinet; Cuong Vu: trumpet; Luke Bergman: bass; Evan Woodle: drums.
Record Label: Table and Chairs Music
Style: Beyond Jazz