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Dezron Douglas: Atalaya

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Dezron Douglas: Atalaya
Atalaya is Dezron Douglas' first full-length album leading a band in over four years. The bassist's recent sightings have whet the appetite rather than deliver the main course. Black Lion (Self Produced, 2018), made with a sextet, attracted good notices, but was an EP. His appearance on drummer Makaya McCraven's Universal Beings (International Anthem, 2018) was confined to one side of that double album. Force Majeure (International Anthem, 2020) was a collection of livestream duets made with his partner, harpist Brandee Younger, during lockdown. Meditations On Faith (Self Produced, 2021) was a solo album. Live performances with Ravi Coltrane, of whose quartet Douglas is a longstanding member, and the late Pharoah Sanders, have so far produced no recordings.

Atalaya takes up where Black Lion left off, though with a new lineup. The band is a quartet completed by saxophonist Emilio Modeste, best known for his work with Wallace Roney during the trumpeter's final years, pianist and keyboardist George Burton and drummer Joe Dyson Jr. All ten tracks were composed by Douglas.

The music is lyrical but elemental, mostly in the pocket but sometimes borderline out-there and, without being revivalist, with a provenance that traces a direct line back to the hard-bop one might have heard in New York clubs such as the Village Vanguard on a good night during the mid 1960s. There is a representative taste on the YouTube clip below. The prevailing mood is fierce with the exception of one track, "Luna Moth," an elegy which Douglas wrote in memory of the avantist bassist Mario Pavone, who passed, aged 80 years, in 2021 (and who almost certainly would have played at the Vanguard in the mid 1960s). A strong and engaging album.

Track Listing

Atalaya; Rose; Coyocan; Luna Moth; Wheeping Birch; Jones Beach; More Coffee Please; J Bird; Octopus; Folign.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Dezron Douglas: basses; George Burton: piano, Fender Rhodes; Joe Dyson Jr.: drums; Emilio Modeste: saxophones; Melvia Santa: vocals and percussion (5).

Album information

Title: Atalaya | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: International Anthem Recording Company


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