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by Troy Collins
Fuhuffah is a departure of sorts for cellist Daniel Levin. His fourth recording as a leader dispenses with the chamber oriented instrumentation of his regular quartet (with bass, trumpet and vibraphone), in favor of a more conventional line-up. Accompanied by Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Levin leads his trio through six original and one traditional tune that ebb and flow with previously untapped vigor.
Encapsulating a broad range of dynamics, this session occasionally veers ...read more
by Paul C. Dowd
The bold and sinewy musical conversation that takes place over the course of the hour-long Blurry is revealed over multiple listens as nothing short of superb. The third and latest disc from the Daniel Levin Quartet is no small achievement in its staggered pace, yet grounding ease that gradually envelops the listener. The eight-song disc, recorded at Firehouse 12 Studio in New Haven, Connecticut, opens with Ornette Coleman's Law Years as a hint of the warmth that ...read more
by Chris May
Though there's nothing remotely revivalist or retro about it, the music made by cellist Daniel Levin's drummerless quartet--glowing, lyrical, adventurous chamber jazz--resonates strongly with the first stirrings of free jazz circa 1960 and the third stream/cool experiments of the half-decade leading up to it. Like all the most successful post-modern creative ventures, Levin's quartet positions its antecedents in plain sight, but rises above them to create something novel, fascinating and unmistakably of its own time.
Blurry is the ...read more
by Donald Elfman
Cellist Daniel Levin expands the compositional and improvisational palettes of modern jazz on Some Trees with a provocatively assembled group of adventurous musicians and pieces. Without a drummer, this group is able to rethink the dynamics and dialectic of a jazz" group and find new phrasing, spacing and modes of interaction.
All of the players contribute vitally to this re-mix": trumpeter Nate Wooley makes all of his effects--half-valving, dirty muting, etc.--work towards finding the optimal colors; vibraphonist Matt Moran plays ...read more
by Nic Jones
This group sets out a highly individual stall within the market of creative improvised music, not simply through the use of unusual instrumentation--and to the extent that even when these musicians tackle compositions by Eric Dolphy, Steve Lacy and Ornette Coleman, they bring to them a refreshing depth of personal interpretation and expression.
Levin's own compositions might also have been written with this group in mind, so strong is their sense of identity. The balance, and indeed the creative tension, ...read more
by Celeste Sunderland
Contrasts flavor life. Growing shadows creeping across an expansive lawn add drama, slowly and deliberately, like a long note played deeply against the strings of a cello. Raindrops pound dry asphalt in summer, peaking the human senses like rapid spurts of a cornet against the heavy pulse of a bass. The Daniel Levin Quartet's Don't Go It Alone mirrors nature's abstract reactions and transforms them into music. By combining cello (Levin), cornet (Dave Ballou), vibraphone (Matt Moran), ...read more