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Album Review

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language: A Time And A Place


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Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language: A Time And A Place
When Chicago tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi dedicates a song "Albert" on A Time And A Place to the the Holy Ghost of the avant- garde, Albert Ayler, he doesn't follow what most impersonators do and scream "ALBERT" at you. He builds upon a simple melody pattern (Ayler-like) patiently magnifying the intensity and fervor. Unlike Ayler, whose music hinted he wouldn't live long (he died at 34), Laurenzi's invocation maintains an equanimity within the eruption. That's just Laurenzi being Laurenzi.

A Time And A Place follows the Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog (Astral Spirits, 2019) and the self-titled debut of this quartet Natural Language (ears&eyes Records, 2016). A quartet that includes guitarist Jeff Swanson, bassist Mike Harmon, and drummer Charles Rumback. The music here, all credited to the saxophonist, nicely balances the composed and improvised parts of this recording. A proper melody is the controlling element throughout. His whispering saxophone sets the tone for "Ridgeway," with Swanson's single note guitar sparring with saxophone before giving way to Harmon's bass solo. The song is part jazz, part folk and very much Chicago Americana. "Mantra" follows a similar successful pattern, opening with a sound that would be familiar to pre-smooth jazz John Klemmer listeners and building complexity through shifting time and textures. This is patient and also indefatigable music. Laurenzi is in no rush to find the end of a song. Perfect example is the final track "Slate," which is an extended drone-like composition that flows like a river of frazil ice with Laurenzi improvising over the drifting rime.

Track Listing

Mantra; Albert; Ridgeway; Blocks; Slate.


Dustin Laurenzi: saxophone, tenor; Jeff Swanson: guitar; Mike Harmon: bass; Charles Rumback: drums.

Album information

Title: A Time And A Place | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Woolgathering Records

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