Whit Dickey Trio: Expanding Light

Glenn Astarita By

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Whit Dickey Trio: Expanding Light
Highly respected, longtime New York City-based drummer Whit Dickey, frequent collaborator, and laudable alto saxophonist Rob Brown and young bassist Brandon Lopez consummate this trio's debut recording. As most would surmise, the musicians explore and refresh the peripheries of free jazz improvisation.

Dickey and Brown's involvement with the always fertile NY improv scene is well-documented. Here, the band takes a democratic approach with close-knit interactions and formidable upfront asymmetrical grooves using space to impart breathing room and gradual reengineering processes. On that note, the drummer's lyrical, scrappy, and animated patterns—and a tendency to ride the top and middle of the beats—are prominent traits. Hence, one of many reasons why he's enjoyed first- call session man status for several decades.

Dickey penned all these comps, which are basically launching pads for the band amid it's continual bonding processes, noticeably evident on a per-track basis. Yet "Plateau" is distinct due to Lopez' sinewy arco notes and ability to design a broad undercurrent when going toe-to-toe with the drummer's rolling and snapping tom hits via give and take style episodes, segueing into a fractured mini-motif with globular instances and coarse edges. Whereas Lopez' thick sinuous lines loosely impart a robust ostinato vibe, followed by Dickey's angular polyrhythmic solo. However, Brown's mild and somewhat courteous reentry is not meant to slam matters into overdrive, which to some degree looms as the antithesis to what may be considered tried and true attributes for music of this ilk. Effectively, he dances across all registers and enlarges the totality of the piece itself.

The final track "The Opening," features Brown's angst-ridden soloing atop a rumbling cadence, where the musicians seemingly cruise across a blustery musical terrain dappled with rocky crevices and slanted peaks. As they say, good things tend to come in small packages, which is a notion that rings loudly throughout.

Track Listing

The Outer Edge; Desert Flower; Plateau; Expanding Light; Möbius; The Opening.


Whit Dickey: drums; Brandon Lopez: bass, acoustic; Rob Brown: saxophone, alto.

Album information

Title: Expanding Light | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Tao Forms

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