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Andrew Downing/Jim Lewis/David Occhipinti: Bristles

Dan Bilawsky By

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A painterly approach to standards and a not-so-standard approach to portraying painters are the two themes of Bristles. Bassist Andrew Downing, trumpeter Jim Lewis, and guitarist David Occhipinti visit in on six classics—five of which were recorded live in January of 2013 at the Jazz Room in Waterloo, Canada—and create six miniature canvases that honor boundary-pushing artists.

The standards, save for a fragmented, cross-talking take on "Solar," prove to be the more substantial offerings. This trio manages to bring a hushed-yet-weighty quality to the first two lengthy classics on the playlist—"My One And Only Love" and "Once I Loved"; both are semi-atmospheric in nature, but neither defines this group's vision of what the standard can be. That becomes all too clear when these three visit "You And The Night And The Music." That particular piece is launched atop Downing's repetitive-and-rickety bass line, breaking away from the established pattern with Lewis' searching trumpet lines and a rhythmically firm, sawing bass presence pushing the piece forward. Liquid guitar lines and faux-Baroque passages follow, further extending the boundaries of this particular chestnut. A brighter-than-usual "Emily" and a gauzy-turned-grounded "I Fall In Love Too Easily" round out the standards list.

The artist portraits—sub-two-minute nods to Cy Twombly, Emily Carr, Jackson Pollock, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Jean Dubuffet—tap into some of the very schools of thought that the subjects are often associated with; minimalism, surrealism, and abstraction all play a part in the way this trio paints these visionaries.

The two topics addressed throughout Bristles might seem wholly different, but they're not; this album, whether addressing creations or creators, is all about the art of malleability.

Track Listing: Cy Twombly; Solar; Emily Carr; My One And Only Love; Jackson Pollock; Once I Loved; Wassily Kandinsky; You And The Night And The Music; Paul Klee; Emily; Jean Dubuffet; I Fall In Love Too Easily.

Personnel: David Occhipinti: guitar; Andrew Downing: double bass; Jim Lewis: trumpet.

Title: Bristles | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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