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CD/LP/Track Review

Earl Howard / Denman MAroney: Fire Song

By Published: December 1, 2000
Fire Song represents yet another intriguing effort brought to us by “Erstwhile Records” as hyperpiano specialist Denman Maroney and alto saxophonist, synth performer Earl Howard match wits in a series of ambitious duets that might spark a glowing light within the listener’s subliminal self. Here, the duo challenges our imaginative powers as Maroney works the innards of his piano in concert with Howard’s delicate utilization of synths and highly charged performances on sax, most notably on the final track and solo flight titled, “Orchid” where Howard fuses soulful lines with plaintive cries.

On pieces such as the seventeen minute “Fire Song”, Maroney works the inside of his piano by plucking his strings and seemingly sliding and tapping objects to evoke unusual sounds and rhythms that elicit ethereal characteristics. With this piece, the duo trades motifs via eerie themes and subversive dialogue that often equates to a disjointed yet counterbalancing series of distorted dreamscapes amid implied rhythms as notions of a musical backdrop for a surrealist modern art exhibition come to mind.

Howard’s hybrid soulful/dissonant alto sax work and Maroney’s lower register patterns and staggered pulse on “Pulse Field” makes for captivating yet enticingly abstract conversation whereas an underlying sense of urgency presides on the cartoon-like proposition, titled “Uncaged Bacchanal”. Simply stated, Fire Song offers a comprehensive depiction of two musicians who artfully construct a deeply personal musical language that is undeniably their own.

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( Erstwhile Records )


Track Listing: 1) Fire Song 2) UnCaged Bacchanal 3) Pulse Field 4) Orchid

Personnel: Earl Howard; alto saxophone; synthesizer: Denman Maroney; hyperpiano

Record Label: Erstwhile Records

Style: Modern Jazz



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