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...

8

Jeff Denson & Joshua White: I'll Fly Away

Robert Bush By

Sign in to view read count
Jeff Denson has been alto saxophone legend Lee Konitz's bassist of choice for the past several years, and it's easy to see why on this superlative duet album of gospel music with the explosive pianist Joshua White, who, at age 28 appears ready to take the world by storm. White has almost twenty years of experience playing gospel music—obvious by the great liberties he uses to transform this music while retaining a visceral authenticity.

There are three radically different versions of the title track here, but the opening take on I'll Fly Away, is a stunner. Over the dark and wood-grain pulse of Denson, White expounds like a player-piano infused with the holy spirit, as well as a liberal dash of Cecil Taylor to keep it real.

Indeed, much of what makes this disc so satisfying is the open embrace of dissonant textures and audacious harmonic choices—which add depth to a program imbued with joyous consonance. Denson's pizzicato intro to "Down at the Cross," is deep, dark and soulful and White's sparkling lyricism compares very favorably to similar work by Keith Jarrett. The bassist begins his solo tour-de-force on "Amazing Grace," with throaty bowed harmonics that cut into the ether and it only gets deeper from there.

The tender exchange on "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," might have lapsed into the maudlin, but the pensive dialog sails clear with White's melodic cascades and Denson's resonant, Charlie Haden like tone. "When the Saints Go Marching In," emerges drastically retooled, and the two improvisers exploit the altered form as a vehicle to dart in and around oncoming traffic with spontaneous ideas. White's unbridled virtuosity is loosed on "Just As I Am," as waves of impressions pile atop each other in dense, violent layers.

Beautifully recorded by Adam Munoz at the iconic Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, this recording captures Denson's huge sound in great detail, especially in the solo bass reading of "Crying in the Chapel," where it moans like a wounded leviathan. The delicate waltz of the penultimate tune, "In the Garden," begins with almost classical gestures, but by the time the body of the tune emerges—a more modern exchange of singing voices dominates.

One of the finest bass and piano discs to surface in a long time, I'll Fly Away, is worth seeking out.

Track Listing: I'll Fly Away (Version One; Lord I want to be a Christian; Down at the Cross; Amazing Grace; I'll Fly Away (Version Two); What a Friend We Have in Jesus; When the Saints Go Marching In; Just As I Am; Crying in the Chapel; In the Garden; I'll Fly Away (Version Three).

Personnel: Jeff Denson: double-bass; Joshua White: piano

Title: I'll Fly Away | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: pfMentum

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya Kimura CD/LP/Track Review
Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya Kimura
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read His Flight's At Ten CD/LP/Track Review
His Flight's At Ten
by John Sharpe
Published: December 18, 2018
Read First Lines CD/LP/Track Review
First Lines
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 18, 2018
Read Live At Cafe Amores CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: December 18, 2018
Read The Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Tale
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 17, 2018
Read "The Tale" CD/LP/Track Review The Tale
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 17, 2018
Read "You Are In You" CD/LP/Track Review You Are In You
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 13, 2018
Read "The Shakedown" CD/LP/Track Review The Shakedown
by Chris May
Published: May 2, 2018
Read "God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be" CD/LP/Track Review God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
by Chris May
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Journey to a New World" CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Fundur" CD/LP/Track Review Fundur
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 23, 2018