All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

152

Chris Speed: Deviantics

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Multi-reedman Chris Speed is a busy man these days. Speed’s involvement with cutting edge bands or artists such as “Orange Then Blue”, “Pachora”, James Emery, Jerry Granelli and Tim Berne’s “Bloodcount” put him in the heart or forefront of 90’s style modern jazz. Deviantics is Speed’s 2nd solo release, both of which are on the Songlines label.

Chris Speed has graduated from the so-called “young lion” status and is without a doubt a star who has most certainly, risen! A gifted technician and composer, Speed is a young stylist with a clear vision. Here, Speed utilizes the wondrous talents of bassist Skulli Sverrisson, trumpeter Cuong Vu and drummer-percussionist, Jim Black. What have here is ¾ of the wonderful Balkan influenced jazz group, “Pachora” (See AAJ May 99 review).

Speed’s composition, “Pitch Remix” gets the ball rolling so to speak as Speed’s richly textured and fluent clarinet work leads the band into free-jazz motifs supplemented with brief yet enticing choruses by Speed and trumpet virtuoso Cuong Vu. Skuli Sverrisson’s electric bass work is enormous in scope. Throughout, Sverrisson displays technical gifts that in most instances would stop onlookers or other musicians in their tracks. Sverrisson is the perfect foil for Speed’s charging yet often-complex charts. Jim Black and Sverrisson are enigmatic and indeed one of the dynamic duo rhythm sections on the planet. Speed’s composition, “Reconnoiter” features a beautiful melody line as Speed on tenor and Vu exchange vibrant choruses and segue into generous doses of improvisation and dialogue. Throughout, Speed and Vu square off yet are also inclined to alter their respective courses, often in climactic fashion while eventually reconvening at some point within a particular composition. On "Reconnoiter", Black and Sverrisson fill in the gaps with gobs of power and shifting tempos while seldom if ever, losing the pulse. Jim Black is also liable to provide tonal color through his effective utilization of cymbals and percussion as in Sverrisson’s sublime composition titled,“Tulip” although at times, this piece meanders a bit. Speed’s “Wheatstone” is a highlight, which contains some Balkan influenced overtones as Speed’s commanding and lyrically gorgeous tenor work leads the charge. Again, we find Speed and Vu reciting bright choruses, which are at times, streamlined or briefly stated. Speed’s “East Europe Rundown” features more Balkan influenced themes over a moderate backbeat. All in all, another fine effort from Speed and his estimable associates.

Deviantics is for the most part, an exemplary effort as we continue to follow Speed’s highly intelligent and noticeably confident path through modern jazz. Strongly Recommended! * * * * 1/2


Title: Deviantics | Year Released: 1999

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Platinum on Tap

Platinum on Tap

Skirl Records
2017

buy
Really OK

Really OK

Skirl Records
2014

buy
 

September

Cuneiform Records
2013

buy
 

Lamaçal

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Dawn CD/LP/Track Review
Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Life Of CD/LP/Track Review
Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Enso CD/LP/Track Review
Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Let Your Light Shine On CD/LP/Track Review
Let Your Light Shine On
by Chris May
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Mu'U" CD/LP/Track Review Mu'U
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "IL Y A" CD/LP/Track Review IL Y A
by John Eyles
Published: February 15, 2018
Read "Falling Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Volume 5" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 5
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording" CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "This Was Now" CD/LP/Track Review This Was Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 27, 2018