Darius Jones Trio: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) (2011)
As of right now, alto sax man Darius Jones is one of the more distinctive voices; his vocabulary informed as much by the street as it is the academy, but his reach ensuring that this amounts to more than a fine balance between heart and head. He takes risks, too, considering that the trio lineup of sax, bass and drums is historically well-represented on record. But this band has its own things going on, despite its precedents.
For all its lyricism on "I Wish I Had A Choice," there's a mercurial tartness in Jones' tone, but that's some signifier. He seems to have the ability to take in a fair percentage of jazz history at a hell of a rate and come out with something of his own as a result, and that's an enviable skill. Bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary have equal voices in this most democratic of trios, exemplified by this piece, which affords Nazary the chance to turn in a lithely graceful solo.
"Michelle Loves Willie" is a woozy, gossamer thing, enriched by Lane's stealthy line and odd intervals. Jones is, unsurprisingly, at his most reflective, his highly personal lyricism brought to the fore. When the passion builds, it does so collectively, the three men musically moving with a staggering unity of purpose.
"Ol' Metal Faced Bastard" goes both down the street and down home, but again the strain of earthiness is the trio's own, its signature being Nazary's casual disruption, the likes of which simply wouldn't work in a lot of cases. The resulting storm is, of course, man-made, but it should still carry a positive warning for all those with an ear habitually cocked for the new and invigorating.
Track Listing: E-Gaz; Michelle Loves Willie; A Train; I Wish I Had A Choice; My Special "D"; Chasing The Ghost; Ol' Metal-Faced Bastard.
Personnel: Darius Jones: alto sax; Adam Lane: bass: Jason Nazary: drums.