100

Darius Jones: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream)

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
In Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity, 2009), alto saxophonist Darius Jones scored a stunning debut that placed the newcomer firmly on the avant jazz map. Since then, the reedman has put himself about town, tasting artistic success with drummers William Hooker, and Mike Pride's ensembles, collective Little Women and in duet with pianist Matthew Shipp. But now he returns in the company of the trio first heard on a bonus track from his inaugural outing, comprising bassist Adam Lane (who also pops up on the Hooker disc) and drummer Jason Nazary (from Little Women).

For Jones, Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) forms the second part of what he calls "the sonic tone poem of my life." Whereas the initial record was inspired by aspects of his childhood in rural Virginia, he now reflects on the sense of newfound freedom and self-discovery at university in Richmond. Another idiosyncratically stylized sleeve design by graphic artist Randal Wilcox signals that continuity, although it would be difficult to intuit any of the back story from the music. Suffice to say that the horn man once again showcases his special combination of talents as an adventurous improviser who also pens great tunes. With none of the cuts exceeding eight minutes, Jones makes his pitches succinct, but still allows time for judicious allotment of solo space which advances the musical argument, while avoiding the obvious.

In this, the saxophonist's selection of band mates pays dividends. Lane and Nazary are much more than just a rhythm section; at times they indulge in fantastical drum and bass interplay which evokes a reggae dub band. Lane's deep resonant tone anchors the ensemble, even as his subtle and unpredictable shifts keep the vamps vital, while Nazary essays a nervous energy which manifests in a stuttering busy beat, off-center phrasing and inventive coloration.

As leader. Jones develops his ideas excitingly, delivering impassioned invective in a hoarse throaty dialect. He utilizes the full range of his alto, from keening ululations to lowing textures, via controlled harmonics. Particularly notable is the way he builds tension towards the end of his statement on "E-Gaz," with see-sawing phrases which teeter on the edge of mimicking a police siren. Two further additions to the roll call of gorgeous widescreen ballads which so distinguished his debut stand out: "Michele Hearts Willie" entrances with searing intensity; while "I Wish I Had A Choice," which Jones has wryly introduced in concert as being about taking his musical path almost in spite of himself, soars on an aching melody line.

Elsewhere, "A Train" begins with an insistent phrase that recalls saxophonist Steve Lacy, before paying homage to Billy Strayhorn's "Take The 'A' Train," with the leader and Nazary trading fours, only regrouping for a boozy coda. Reprised from his first offering—if anything, with even more urgency—the hard-driving "Chasing The Ghost" further presses the case for Jones' sophomore effort to receive equal acclaim.

Track Listing: E-Gaz; Michelle Loves Willie; A Train; I Wish I Had A Choice; My Special "D"; Chasing The Ghost; Ol' Metal-Faced Bastard.

Personnel: Darius Jones: alto sax; Adam Lane: bass: Jason Nazary: drums.

Title: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Carve" CD/LP/Track Review Carve
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Change Of Address" CD/LP/Track Review Change Of Address
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.