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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Conly / Alex Harding / Darius Jones / Chad Taylor: Grass Roots

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From the start of the track “Hotttness" the organized chaos is at first unsettling, yet gives way to a tight hook in the exceptional debut Grass Roots by a newly formed collective who sound like they've been playing together for decades. The two lead voices consist of alto saxophonist wunderkind Darius Jones ( Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (Aum Fidelity, 2009) and his equally gifted reed partner-in-crime, Alex Harding who masters the unforgiving baritone saxophone. But equally formidable is the smoldering rhythm section of drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Sean Conly that supplies enough heat and inspiration of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones Quartet: Book of Mae'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise)

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Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise) is the third release from Darius Jones to document his impressive musical growth as a bandleader. Beyond his salient contributions to groups such as Little Women, Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys and Tanakh, Jones' 2009 AUM Fidelity debut, Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), established the young alto saxophonist as a force with which to be reckoned--a singular talent capable of holding his own in the company of acknowledged masters like multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and iconic drummer Rakalam Bob Moses. Two years later, Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) followed, which presented Jones ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones Quartet: Book Of Mae'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise)

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Saxophonist Darius Jones has rung the changes on each of his widely acclaimed leadership dates. Book Of Mae'bul subverts expectations again with an all new quartet drawn from NYC's finest, who shift between intricate script and flowing invention in the blink of an eye. Together they navigate eight of Jones' compositions, which tend towards order rather than entropy more than might be expected. For those looking for comparisons, drummer Mike Pride's From Bacteria To Boys' Betweenwhile (Aum Fidelity, 2010) which featured the reedman, provides a more accurate indication of the ground traversed in its subtle subversion of classic jazz tropes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream)

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In Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009), alto saxophonist Darius Jones scored a stunning debut that placed the newcomer firmly on the avant jazz map. Since then, the reedman has put himself about town, tasting artistic success with drummers William Hooker, and Mike Pride's ensembles, collective Little Women and in duet with pianist Matthew Shipp. But now he returns in the company of the trio first heard on a bonus track from his inaugural outing, comprising bassist Adam Lane (who also pops up on the Hooker disc) and drummer Jason Nazary (from Little Women).

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones Trio: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream)

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Darius Jones' debut recording, Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009), heralded the arrival of an important new voice on alto saxophone. Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) is the second release in an ongoing series of concept records slated to document Jones' personal development--from his origins in Richmond, Virginia to his relocation as a member of New York's fertile Brooklyn scene. Eschewing the star power of his first album, which included multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses, this date finds Jones supported by his working trio, featuring bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary.Once ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones Trio: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream)

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones / Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Lieder

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Duets with saxophonists loom large in pianist Matthew Shipp's discography. His first release featured one such with a young Rob Brown--Sonic Explorations (Cadence Jazz, 1988)--and there have been further outings over the years with other reed men, including Roscoe Mitchell, Ivo Perelman, Evan Parker and Sabir Mateen. To add to that impressive roster comes a worthy addition in Cosmic Lieder, with talented newcomer alto saxophonist Darius Jones, who received serious plaudits for his stunning 2009 debut Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), also on the Aum Fidelity imprint. Both men sublimate their considerable talents to discover a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones / Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Lieder

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Cosmic Lieder documents the first recorded collaboration between rising alto saxophone star Darius Jones and venerable pianist Matthew Shipp. Veering between dark lyricism and roiling catharsis, the date offers an illuminating window into the creative discourse between two different generations of the avant-garde. Released concurrently with the expansive live double album, The Art of the Improviser (Thirsty Ear), which showcases Shipp's artistry in both solo and trio settings, this intimate studio date presents yet another facet of the pianist's abilities as part of an ongoing celebration of his 50th birthday. With a discography featuring appearances on more than ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones / Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Lieder

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Cosmic Lieder contains the sound of a duo engaged in an exercise in totality, which takes in no small amount of the music's past even while there's never any doubt that both players are concerned with music of the future--though, happily, not over-earnestly so. But to call this program a “coming-of-age" would be misleading. Of the two, pianist Matthew Shipp has staked the greater claim on the future by having been on the scene longer, but in saxophonist Darius Jones' case, this is his most compelling recorded statement to date. The coming together of two such distinct musical outlooks has ...

INTERVIEWS

Darius Jones: From Johnny Hodges To Noise Jazz

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Alto saxophonist Darius Jones--who won most critics' nomination for the best jazz newcomer album of 2009 for Man'ish Boy (A Raw And Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009)--is a great fan of Johnny Hodges. He says that the lyrical Duke Ellington altoist is his hero, and this is pleasantly noticeable at the beginning of Man'ish Boy. It is also a good thing; not only did Hodges possess one of the most beautiful sounds in music, but Jones' focus on Hodges-like bends and slurs serves to give his sound a clear originality--or at least a signature--that many saxophonists these days lack.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

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Matthew Shipp once opined that Darius Jones arrived on the scene fully formed, and that is not far from the truth. His first appearance of note was at the 2008 Vision Festival, as part of trumpeter Lewis Barnes' Hampton Roads, confirming that Virginia native Jones was indeed the real McCoy. This debut recording with his own trio, which was a high point of the 2009 Vision Festival, backs that up with one of the strongest offerings of the year.

An alto saxophonist whose sound drips with passion, Jones has recruited a heavyweight lineup with the grizzled Cooper-Moore on piano and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

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Darius Jones sounds like it could be the name of an itinerant preacher or maybe a character in a Flannery O'Connor short story. Neither is actually that much of a stretch after hearing the alto saxophonist's debut as a leader, Man'ish Boy. Throughout run the concurrent threads of celebration and foreboding that exist in the rural south from whence Jones hails. Readers may know Jones best for his work in the two-sax onslaught known as Little Women or his tenure in Cooper-Moore's trio. Little of the former's bombast is present in this disc while the latter is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

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Alto saxophonist Darius Jones' birthplace was Virginia, where, historically, slavery was as indigenous to the state as the cotton fields. Inheriting a tradition of story- telling through music, Jones considers his debut, Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), “one sonic tone poem" that describes different aspects of growing up on a farm, in a loving family setting, where he listened to music ranging from reggae to classical. Jones composed five of the record's eight tracks, with co-writing credit on the other three.

Coupled with his highly experienced mentors, multi-instrumentalist and pianist Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses, thirty-one year ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darius Jones Trio: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

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Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) is the premier recording of Virginia-born alto saxophonist Darius Jones, a prodigiously talented instrumentalist whose Southern roots shine through on this vivacious debut. A regular sideman to Lewis Barnes, William Hooker, Mike Pride, and Mara Rosenbloom, Jones also leads his own trio, which features bassist Adam Lane and drummer Jason Nazary.

For his first record, Jones recruited drummer Rakalam Bob Moses and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore--two of his mentors--to be his rhythm section. Holding his own in the presence of such legendary heavyweights, Jones is also heard playing with Lane and Nazary on ...



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