All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

Behn Gillece: Dare To Be

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
It pays to listen to Dare To Be, Behn Gillece's second release as a leader for Posi-Tone Records, from the bottom up. Bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Jason Tiemann are one of most congenial, articulate, and straightforward bass and drums team in recent memory. They're self-effacing, deeply focused and frisky. Regardless of the differences in the material and tempos of the individual tracks (not to mention additional percussive sounds fashioned by Gillece's vibes and Nate Radley's guitar) Okegwo and Tiemann make sure that the band stays centered and grounded. There's always enough space for the soloists to explore and create something fresh within the clearly established parameters. Conversely, Gillece and Radley are more than capable of making the music move without the bass and drums. Check out the relaxed ambiance engendered by just the vibes and guitar at the onset of "Camera Eyes," the disc's opening track; or, Gillece alone, patiently moving through the melody and accompanying himself during a good portion of the head of "A Time For Love," the record's closer.

Okegwo's broad, woody sound serves as the record's ballast. He's placed dead center in the record's mix, a good place to hear his every utterance. Listening to him walk—lifting, guiding and, at times, nearly carrying the music on his back—is one of the record's delights. Okegwo's role in the bustling, way up-tempo swing of "Signals" sounds natural and relaxed. The occasional deviation from his steadfast character, such as the addition of a few elastic triplet figures amidst Gillece's solo on "Drought's End," catches the ear in a very pleasing manner.

Even while Tiemann helps Okegwo hold down the music's low end, he speaks up to everyone's benefit. Accents on the head of "From Your Perspective" forge a zone somewhere between shrewd, controlled execution and brash exploration, when his strokes pepper Gillece's melody. Tiemann's conversation with Okegwo on the invigorating, bossa-funk of "Live It" foregrounds chattering rim knocks that are occasionally broken up by surprising, brilliantly timed hits to the snare and tom-toms. And, throughout the record, it's fun to listen to the sneaky, exhilarating ways in which Tiemann executes busy, multi-stroke fills. Like a thief in the night, he's in and out in a flash, making a brief, telling impact, and instantly returning to the business at hand.

Every bit as important as Okegwo's and Tiemann's work in the trenches are the ways in which Gillece, Radley, and trumpeter Bruce Harris (who guests on a few tracks) integrate themselves into the rich, firm foundation while making distinct impressions as soloists. Although I've heard all three of them function well in other contexts, throughout Dare To Be there's a genuine accord between soloist and rhythm section that elevates their efforts in particular, and the record in general, beyond mere competence. In broad terms, Gillece is an active, fluid improviser who, even when he's rapidly running lines up and down the instrument, is primarily concerned with telling a coherent tale. "Camera Eyes" is a good example of his sustaining a smart, cogent, emotionally compelling solo for a number of choruses. Radley's "Drought's End" turn deftly incorporates jazz, country, and funk elements, without shining a light or dwelling on any one influence. Harris, particularly on "Live It" and "Drought's End," finds his own space in the band's mix, deliberately working his way through a solo and allowing the listener to relish almost every phrase.

Anyone who has a yen for straight-ahead jazz in which each player makes rigorous, exciting and thought-provoking contributions that enhance the group as a whole is advised to take notice of Dare To Be.

Track Listing: Camera Eyes; From Your Perspective; Amethyst; Signals; Drought's End; Same Shame; Live It; Dare to Be; Trapezoid; A Time for Love.

Personnel: Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Nate Radley: guitar; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Jason Tiemann: drums; Bruce Harris: trumpet.

Title: Dare to Be | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Mindset

Mindset

Behn Gillece
Mindset

Proximity

Proximity

Behn Gillece
Top Shelf

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Walk of Fire

Walk of Fire

Posi-Tone Records
2017

buy
Dare to Be

Dare to Be

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Mindset

Mindset

Posi-Tone Records
2015

buy
Top Shelf

Top Shelf

Posi-Tone Records
2013

buy
Duotone

Duotone

Posi-Tone Records
2011

buy
Little Echo

Little Echo

Posi-Tone Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" CD/LP/Track Review Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Making Other Arrangements" CD/LP/Track Review Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Journey to a New World" CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Heaven & Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven & Earth
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Radio Omnibus" CD/LP/Track Review Radio Omnibus
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 5, 2018