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Live Reviews

Dave Burrell: Philadelphia, PA, January 18, 21 and 30, 2012

By Published: February 14, 2012
After bringing it to a graceful close, Burrell suggested that playing Ellington had put him in the mind of Strayhorn, to which Bennink suggested "Chelsea Bridge."

"I have to play that all the time with David," Burrell answered with a chuckle. "I won't say which David."

Instead they set into "Lush Life," playing with time and phrasing, pushing the first half of the verse, slowly punctuating the second and then settling into a mid-tempo swing—which is where Bennink is always happiest.

Burrell announced the much demanded encore, his "Margie Pargie (A.M. Rag)," saying he would start the piece and Bennink would return in a minute. But Bennink entered sooner than that, laying rhythm with the green room door before returning to the kit. (If there's something to beat, why wouldn't you beat it?) They gave Burrell's ragtime piece a more straight-ahead read—like Burrell's beloved "Jelly Roll Joys" (he doesn't call them "blues")—they seemed even more intent than before on not allowing the slightest slip, because this was the real thing. This was syncopation! And then, after a perfectly taut drum solo, Burrell came back in at something like 1.75 time, causing a momentary imbalance that only upped the ante. Bennink caught up quickly and after a couple more choruses they fractured again and split down the middle. Burrell eventually found dotted lines and parallelograms within the melody upon which to fixate again before ending with a shared intuition.

With all the starts and stops and sudden turns, this was still an old-school jazz show, filled with familiar tunes and swinging rhythms. And yes, swing is what these gentlemen relentlessly did. Not a swing dance; closer to a tire swing maybe, moving in easy patterns, and moving in its sentiment as well.


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Download jazz mp3 “Downfall” by Dave Burrell