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For a bassist operating well beyond of the gaze of the illuminating pop culture limelight Dominic Duval has managed to keep surprisingly busy throughout his career. Prestigious gigs with the likes of Cecil Taylor and Joe McPhee just keep cropping up at his doorstep and he’s managed to record an incredibly prolific body of work (admittedly most as a sideman) over past few years on CIMP, Cadence Jazz Records and a handful of other independent labels. Why all the attention? The myriad reasons are contained right here on this disc, Duval’s second solo effort (the first being Night Bird Inventions on Cadence) recorded to mark the fourth anniversary of CIMP debut.
The program combines a sumptuous repast of originals with a handful improvisations based on standards to keep the pot percolating. Duval’s opening rendering of Mingus’ “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” packs an inordinate amount of rhythmic and harmonic information in a comparatively conservative duration. Ornette Coleman’s classic “Law Years” is afforded similarly royal treatment. On several tracks he makes use of stereo delays to broaden the harmonic scope of his instrument. For my tastes these additions dilute from the immediacy of his acoustic improvisations, but on the flipside they do undeniably add further textural elements and a new spectrum of color from which he may draw. Pieces are divided fairly evenly been arco and pizzicato features and Duval attacks each with dithyrambic vigor.
Perhaps what is most surprising is the crisp immediacy and rich luster of the recorded sound. CIMP sessions are notorious for providing string instruments short shrift. Under the organic CIMP set-up string dynamics sometimes get subsumed, especially when coupled with drums. In this case, with Duval as the lone voice, such overlap is not an issue and every sonic constituent of his creations is revealed and made audible. Even the pop and crackle of a nearby fireplace is captured for posterity. It’s in instances such as this that the much-maligned CIMP sound shows off it’s true strengths, silencing (if only temporarily) the critics. I urge any listener familiar with Duval and for that matter any anyone who covets a love for the bass to check this disc out posthaste.
Tracks:Goodbye Porkpie Hat/ improv Con Electo/ Gloria’s Step/ A Little Heart/ Snowflake/ improv off It Never Entered My Mind/ Law Years/ Sinif/ improv off I Can’t Get Started/ New Day/ improv off In a Sentimental Mood/ improv off Inchworm.
Recorded: January 19 & 20, 2000, Rossie, NY.
CIMP recordings are available directly through North Country Distibutors:
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.