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Jeb Bishop, Pandelis Karayorgis, Damon Smith: Duals


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Jeb Bishop, Pandelis Karayorgis, Damon Smith: Duals
The Jeopardy answer is "three to the power of 2." If you buzzed in fast enough with "what is the album Duals"? You would be correct. The three musicians, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Damon Smith, and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis recorded these 33 duos in Boston between the fall of 2021 and the summer of 2022. While we promised there would be no math, the equation 'three to the power of 2' actually equals three separate discs each with duo combinations of trombone-bass, piano-bass, and piano-trombone.

Disc one features the collaboration between Bishop's trombone and Smith's bass. The pair have recorded together in a free improvisation quartet with cornetist Dan Clucas and drummer Matt Crane, plus JeJaWeDa, another quartet with drummer Weasel Walter and vocalist Jaap Blonk. Here they deliver nine improvised tracks. The music ranges from the raucous to the euphonious. Both musicians have the skills to instigate turbulence or deliver sounds in sotto voce. Together they find a balance with Bishop popping and growling on "Blecher" while Smith applies objects to his strings. A muted trombone "Pestalozzi" draws out Smith's bowed explorations of varying pitches and rumbles. More objects are thwacked on "School Device" as Smith manhandles his tone generating bass and Bishop translates his trombone's bluesy dialect.

The transition to piano and bass duets is also a change in style. Smith is a member of of the Pandelis Karayorgis Trio and also his Double Trio. The improvised music of disc one gives way to twelve composed tracks split between Smith and Karayorgis. Composed that is until the musicians blast off into the stratosphere of "Pennant" or chase each other randomly down the slippery slopes of "Whistles" where their entropy finds its own orderliness. Karayorgis' compositions are flavored with his fondness for the music of Thelonious Monk and Smith's writing points more towards chaos. Yet, his maelstrom must be classified as chamber turbulence of the finest sort.

Finally, the duo between Bishop and Karayorgis is a mixture of composed and improvised pieces. Both musicians are members of The Whammies, an ensemble dedicated to the music of Steve Lacy and also the avant big band Bathysphere. Their familiarity with each other's approach is quite apparent on the twelve tracks. The composed pieces are well, quite composed. Much like chamber music "Three," "Never Ending," and the beautifully sober "Ice" find the pair performing in a sympathetic unison. Bishop has the ability to transform his trombone into the most gentle instrument when he is required to accompany the hushed tones of Karayorgis. The hush is followed by the pianist's left hand stomp and the bleat of bone-on-keys rumble of "Roll PK" or the machine-like redundancy of "Razorlip."

Track Listing

CD1: Caltrop; Parsnip; Protocol; Photo Op; Blecher; Uni Device; Wageningen; Pestalozzi; School Device; CD2: Pennant; Ravine; Whistles; Lifgatowy; Procession; Entanglement; Extruded; Undertow; Mr Cook; Weft; Something Stirring Underfoot; Hommage; CD3: Scry; Slack Tide; Roil JB; Ledger; Never Ending; Redarrow; Razorlip; Summer; Ledge; Three; Ice; Roil PK.


Jeb Bishop
Damon Smith
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Duals | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Driff Records

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