Veteran improvising alto saxophonist Blaise Siwula packs a potent punch on Dialing Privileges. Along with the somewhat legendary guitarist Dom Minasi and drummer John Bollinger these New York based musicians not only provide a mini-clinic on the art of improvising yet perform with a distinctive touch which elevates this release to the top of the heap. Siwula's imperious utilization of vibrato does indeed draw comparisons to the late great soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, yet the alto saxophonist exhibits a finely honed and thoroughly modish approach throughout these eight compositions.
With "Mom's Garden," Siwula blazes forward with ripping, razor sharp lines as the musicians lay down some blues yet segue into a free-jazz romp. Here and throughout, the ever versatile Minasi seems possessed by spirits while feverishly plucking and strumming a cavalcade of chord progressions as Bollinger adds fuel to the fire with powerful rhythms that also compliment the soloists in a huge way! The musicians eclipse vivid expressionism via their seemingly fertile imaginations and boundless creativity. In fact, the energy and exasperating emotions prompt listener involvement. High impact pieces such as "Trawler" and "Tendencies in Tandem" feature piercing improv and unabashed soloing yet the musicians do find ways of integrating melody, swift unison statements and playful convergence as Bollinger furnishes the common ground or axis for the often unwavering momentum. The closer, "Circle Down" is quaint, sublime and evolves in circular fashion with no obvious endpoints to be found other than the final passages.
Dialing Privileges is a fine exposition that boasts quite a bit of character not always found within these modern jazz or free-improv circles. If you are new to Siwula's music, this brand new release would be an appropriate place to start.
Personnel: Blaise Siwula; Alto Sax: Dom Minasi; 12-String Guitar: John Bollinger; Drums.
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.