All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

191

Ken Fowser / Behn Gillece: Duotone

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
"Duotone" is a term that belongs to the world of photography, but it makes perfect sense when applied to this recording. Tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser and vibraphonist Behn Gillece superimpose their tonal colors and personalities against one another, to create an aural portrait that's both traditional and modern.

While the supporting personnel have changed on each of their three Posi-Tone dates, the basic template by which their music is designed remains, essentially, the same. On each album, the pair employs a quintet to deliver melodically-inviting material with impressive soloing , but they also branch out beyond this general description. "Spontaneity" features a wide developmental arc, which begins with impressionistic piano and loose, searching statements, eventually arriving at propulsive swing, and "Come Around Again" is an intimate, musical-dream sequence.

Both men own equal shares in this music but, as on Little Echo (Posi-Tone, 2010), Gillece serves as the primary composer. Fowser's contributions—the breezy, Brazilian-tinged "Bongo" and the hip, swinging "One For G"—come at the end of the album, after Gillece has already established himself as the compositional kingpin of the group. His music can be hypnotic ("Offset"), relaxed and carefree ("Low Ball"), or caffeinated and swinging ("Back To Back"), depending on the moment, but all of it remains highly accessible.

While the solid architecture of each piece speaks to the writing skills of Gillece, and Fowser on a smaller scale, jazz remains an improviser's art, and this album features plenty of soloing to attest to their strengths in this area. While they take the large majority of the solo spots, pianist Donald Vega is an almost-equal partner in this department. He steals the show on the up-tempo "Back To Back," and his bluesy piano work on "Offset" takes the song in a different direction.

The team of bassist David Wong, of drummer Roy Haynes' Fountain of Youth band fame, and überdrummer Willie Jones III are as good a rhythm duo as can be hoped for, and they provide superb support throughout the program. When the music requires intensity, they push and prod to perfection, but they also underline the cool characteristics of the slower, swinging material on the album.

Duotone isn't a radical departure from Full View (Posi-Tone, 2009) and Little Echo, but that's just fine. It's a winning program of original tunes that continues to show off the chemistry which exists between two exciting instrumental voices bound for the big time.

Track Listing: Overcooked; Spontaneity; Attachment; Back To Back; Come Around Again; In The Twilight; Low Ball; Bongo; Offset; One for G.

Personnel: Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Donald Vega: piano; David Wong: bass; Willie Jones III: drums.

Title: Duotone | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Don't Look Down

Don't Look Down

Posi-Tone Records
2018

buy
Now Hear This!

Now Hear This!

Posi-Tone Records
2017

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 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 "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Plus One" CD/LP/Track Review Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Chapter 2" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter 2
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 21, 2017