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Andy Milne & Dapp Theory: New York, NY, August 26, 2012

Ernest Barteldes By

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Andy Milne & Dapp Theory
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Tompkins Square Park
New York, NY

August 26, 2012

Perfect weather and mild temperatures were the setting for an afternoon of jazz music at New York's Tompkins Square Park on occasion of the 20th edition of the Charlie Park Jazz Festival. Pianist Andy Milne's contemporary jazz project Dapp Theory was part of the lineup for the day, a quintet rounded out by reed player Aaron Kruziki, spoken word artist John Mooney, bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Kenny Grohowski.

The set began with "In The Mirror, Darkly," its Middle Eastern-inspired groove led by Kruziki on the traditional Armenian duduk. Moon then joined them and started doing a spoken-word loop based around the tune's title. The individual moments came mostly from Milne and Kruziki, who switched to a clarinet halfway through. The band immediately followed with "Body Bag," its more melodic structure allowing for more improvisational moments, while Moon did a jazz-oriented mix of hip-hop and spoken word vocals.

Grohowski and Tordini have a great lock together, as they demonstrated with Milne's "How and When Versus What," also featuring wordless vocals from Tordini, Kruziki and the bandleader. At one point, Milne and Kruziki began a flurry of notes, and it was up to the rhythm section to keep the sound together. The tune also featured an extended drum solo that was complemented by Milne's very percussive left hand on the piano. The set closed with the a groovy, up-tempo "After The Fact," centered on Milne's piano and Moon's spoken word.

The short set had many inspiring moments—Kruziki demonstrated great skill and an impressive array of instruments (from bass clarinet to soprano sax), and he repeatedly switched amongst them to find the perfect sound for each of the songs' sections. Milne's music has a very cinematic quality—one of the tunes on the set was written, in fact, for actor William Shatner's 2011 documentary The Captains—often blurring the line between more traditional and contemporary jazz.

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