All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Dan Bruce's Beta Collective: Earthshine

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
On the first listen, it's easy to fall under the sway of the sweetness of Dan Bruce's silky guitar tone, only to miss the substance at the heart of his music. Just as similar guitarists like Ben Monder or Kurt Rosenwinkel possess a generous, accessible sound with an exploratory edge, Bruce brings a finely-polished technique that is at the same time subtly discontent, searching for new expressions and willing to take some chances along the way. His capacious compositions featuring his new group, Beta Collective, are front-and-center on his latest release, Earthshine—his first as a leader since his 2007 debut, A Single Thread.

The album's title-track opener highlights the expansive course Bruce's compositions can take. Built on an inviting melodic foundation, the 13-minute piece covers a lot of ground, with a strong groove and well-executed time-signature shifts that spark a dynamic, yearning solo from Bruce and an even wider-ranging one from trumpeter Russ Johnson during a pensive rubato section that quickly enters more fervid territory, as the band once again re-establishes the groove and Johnson surges over it.

For compositions with this kind of restless energy, a top-notch rhythm team is crucial, and Bruce has one: keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Jon Deitemyer manage to strike the perfect balance between precision and finesse. And they highlight the way this band plays together as a band: their interaction with tenor saxophonist Chris Madsen during his spunky solo on "Lapse" is an excellent example of how to elevate and magnify a soloist's statement.

But it's not just the tight rapport and strong solos that give this album its distinctive flavor. Bruce's willingness to open up the music in unexpected ways allows "Major_Chord" to transition from bouncy swing to an unstructured section in which Madsen and Johnson can engage in a free exchange of ideas, before the rest of the band re-enters and Bruce spurs the two to even greater heights with some gritty interjections of his own. And the album's closer, "Greatest Hit #1" is another 13- minute journey with more subtle surprises: a melancholy, moody theme which simultaneously pulses with a seething intensity, fueled by Deitemyer's kaleidoscopic drumming and Bruce's electronic embellishments. The piece epitomizes Bruce's ability to craft listener-friendly music that can still offer plenty to challenge and intrigue those wanting a bit more than just a pleasant listen.

Track Listing: Earthshine; Reprieve:Reprise; Lapse; Ice (No. 2); Sofa; Major_ Chord; Greatest Hit #1.

Personnel: Dan Bruce: guitar, effects, compositions; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Chris Madsen: tenor saxophone; Rob Clearfield: piano, Fender Rhodes; Clark Sommers: bass; Jon Deitemyer: drums.

Title: Earthshine | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ears&eyes Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


ears&eyes Records

A Single Thread

A Single Thread

NohJoh Music


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Horizons" CD/LP/Track Review Horizons
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Solano Canyon" CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Burn The Boat" CD/LP/Track Review Burn The Boat
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 18, 2017