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Dan Willis, Paul Dunmall, Amok Amor & Treesearch

Read "Dan Willis, Paul Dunmall, Amok Amor & Treesearch" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

Many jazz musicians in Poland consider playing and/or recording the music of Poland's father of jazz, Krzysztof Komeda, a rite of passage. A similar feeling exists with most jazz musicians anywhere about the music of Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and more. This episode features some recordings that follow that path. Saxophonist Dan Willis tackles Monk on his new latest release, while Miguel Zenon fronts a European band in an Ornette-inspired set. Canadian drummer Ivan Bamford and his Eyevin ...

Album Review

Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen: The Satie Project II

Read "The Satie Project II" reviewed by Maurizio Zerbo

Più che un mero omaggio a Erik Satie, Dan Willis opera una superba ristrutturazione delle già rivoluzionarie partiture originali mediante l'aggiunta di parti composte per l'occasione. Il musicista statunitense si conferma così autorevole esponente contemporaneo di una musicalità trasversale, aperta alle contaminazioni. È sufficiente l'ascolto del brano di apertura, “Gnossienne # 7," per rendersi conto di quanto poco convenzionale sia questo progetto. Le originarie partiture per pianoforte vengono arricchite da un sostrato contemporaneo, che pesca nei brillanti ...

Extended Analysis

Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen: The Satie Project II

Read "Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen: The Satie Project II" reviewed by Dave Wayne

The music of Eric Satie may well be some of the most malleable and adaptable works ever composed. This could be partly due to the fact that Satie himself stood well outside of the musical mainstream of his time, thus his compositions are comparatively unencumbered by the stylistic baggage of his era. Satie was avant-garde before the term was coined, and is considered by many to be a precursor to the Minimalists and to the 20th Century Serialist composers such ...

Album Review

Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen: The Satie Project

Read "The Satie Project" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

French composer Erik Satie (1866--1925), a contemporary of Claude Debussy, was often scorned and, had it not been for his friend, Debussy would have been largely ignored as well by his generation. Debussy not only supported Satie, but championed his work as well, and saw to it that some very forward thinking pieces, such as the “Gymnopedie," were publically performed, too. Satie experimented with dissonance and, more importantly, he often used avant-garde harmonic changes in his pieces as well. In ...


Dan Willis: The Voice of a Tone Poet

Read "Dan Willis: The Voice of a Tone Poet" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

There is an ancient Latin aphorism that was often central to a debate among philosophers discussing art. The debate itself began earlier than the time of Augustan Rome, and over time raged on, occupying the philosophers of Greece as much as it occupied the classicists. It addressed the question of whether poetry was a gift of nature or a product of conscious art or training. The aphorism came from 16th Century Venetian writer Coelius Rhodigenus, who wrote a chapter in ...


Dan Willis: No Longer a Divided Artist

Read "Dan Willis: No Longer a Divided Artist" reviewed by Paul Olson

You'll have to look long and hard to find a better tenor saxophonist than Dan Willis.You'll have to look long and hard to find a better oboeist than Dan Willis.Dan Willis is a wonderful soprano saxophonist. He's a terrific English horn player. His bass clarinet and piccolo playing is fine. He's more than competent with more obscure ethnic instruments such as zirna and dudek.Perhaps most importantly, Dan Willis is a great composer. But instruments, ...

Album Review

Dan Willis: Velvet Gentlemen

Read "Velvet Gentlemen" reviewed by Jim Santella

Taking its title from a pet nickname that was applied to composer Erik Satie by children in his neighborhood, Velvet Gentlemen features multi-instrumentalist Dan Willis with a modern mainstream sextet, freely interpreting eleven original pieces. The band covers a lot of territory. The leader plays eleven woodwind instruments on the session, including tenor and soprano saxophones, as well as oboe, bass clarinet and English horn. He's joined by guitarist Pete McCann, trumpeter Chuck MacKinnon, bassist Kermit Driscoll, pianist Ron Oswanski ...


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