8

Kris Davis: Duopoly

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Kris Davis: Duopoly Query: when does improvised music appear more arranged than written compositions? The question is not a zen koan, it is the notion put forth by the sixteen duets performed by pianist Kris Davis and her eight collaborating partners. Davis, who can no longer be labeled a "rising star" of jazz and improvised piano, is a fully formed mature performer. Her dozen or so discs as leader and multiple collaborations with Michael Formanek, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Jon Irabagon, and Eric Revis (to name just a few) have established her as a torchbearer for the next generation of jazz musicians.

The concept of Duopoly is quite simple. Each of Davis' collaborators recorded one written composition, the majority by Davis, and one improvisation. For this recording she cast her net wide, gathering folks she hasn't recorded with before, except guitarist Bill Frisell who, along with Davis, was featured on Kermit Driscoll's Reveille (Nineteen-Eight Records, 2010). Frisell opens the disc with the stark Davis composition, "Prairie Eyes," then closes with the improvisation named for each collaborator. His instantly recognizable Telecaster guitar feeds notes across Davis' prepared piano, each player serving the bare bones of the composition. When the two instantly compose, a trait shared by all of the improvisations, the ambition is to create a fully formed piece. Each pairing does indeed achieve those ends.

The engaging aspect here, is that each is achieved with differing players. Frisell's electric guitar could be contrasted with Julian Lage's acoustic, but each execution is a success. Drummer Billy Drummond's constant drum conversation on Thelonious Monk's "Eronel" becomes a painterly pulse in their improvisation, as does saxophonist Tim Berne's fingered minimalist squelch that rises (along with Davis) into a breakout eruption. Then there is the pair's loving deconstruction of Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss" from clarinetist Don Byron and their subsequent improvisation that trod the most gentle path. The wow factor is turned up with fellow pianists Angelica Sanchez and Craig Taborn. Both players are skilled solo improvisers; their improvisations with Davis are small landscape painting masterpieces. Then again, so are Davis' interactions with drummer Marcus Gilmore.

Besides the audio disc, this release comes with a DVD video of each duo captured in split screen. One can listen to the music, then see how they actually accomplished it.

Track Listing: Prairie Eyes; Surf Curl; Fox Fire; Beneath The Leaves; Eronel; Dig & Dump; Trip Dance For Tim; Prelude To A Kiss; Don Byron; Tim Berne; Marcus Gilmore; Billy Drummond; Angelica Sanchez; Craig Taborn; Julian Lage; Bill Frisell.

Personnel: Kris Davis: piano; Don Byron: clarinet; Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Marcus Gilmore: drums; Billy Drummond: drums; Angelica Sanchez: piano; Craig Taborn: piano; Julian Lage: guitar; Bill Frisell: guitar.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Pyroclastic Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Earth Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Earth Tones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Three Miles From Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Three Miles From Avalon
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Lowdown Hoedown" CD/LP/Track Review Lowdown Hoedown
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Floating City" CD/LP/Track Review Floating City
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Closer Than Before" CD/LP/Track Review Closer Than Before
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!