341

Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) Matthew Shipp once opined that Darius Jones arrived on the scene fully formed, and that is not far from the truth. His first appearance of note was at the 2008 Vision Festival, as part of trumpeter Lewis Flip Barnes' Hampton Roads, confirming that Virginia native Jones was indeed the real McCoy. This debut recording with his own trio, which was a high point of the 2009 Vision Festival, backs that up with one of the strongest offerings of the year.

An alto saxophonist whose sound drips with passion, Jones has recruited a heavyweight lineup with the grizzled Cooper-Moore on piano and diddley-bow and Rakalam Bob Moses on drums, no less imbued with the spirit. In the 52-minute program, five Jones originals are interspersed with more freely improvised excerpts which both provide variation and make the fervor of the compositions, about Jones' life growing up in the South, all the more alluring.

Jones has a talent for penning intensely emotional themes, which provide a fertile launching pad for his vibrato-laden alto preaching. Whether hollering in a multiphonic falsetto or punctuating his keening cries with gutbucket blasts, the saxophonist exudes complete authority. In this he is aided by Cooper-Moore's freewheeling piano and down-and-dirty diddley-bow, which more than compensate for the lack of a bass. From lush chording embellishments to propulsive bass figures, Cooper-Moore's pianistics are a delight. Moses impels the trio forward on his rumbling multi-dimensional percussive carpet, whether wielding brushes or what even sounds like the kitchen sink.

"Roosevelt" acts as a short prelude, providing a haunting statement for what is to come, while "Cry Out," powered by a rolling piano figure, revels in the contrast of soulful alto over syncopated piano and drums, spiced by a splendidly discursive Cooper-Moore solo. From the richly voiced alto/piano ballad "Meekness" to the exploratory long held notes of "Salty" and the driving eastern tonalities of "Chasing the Ghost," the trio display a tight collective sensibility.

However, it is the valedictory, elegiac "Forgive Me" which marks the highlight of the album. Once the cadences of Cooper-Moore's hymn-like piano introduction give way to Jones' wavering, vulnerable alto, it sounds like a newly found spiritual, with some of most beautiful sounds ever committed to disc.

After such a stirring conclusion, the producers rightfully leave a gap before programming the 10-minute live bonus track "Chaych" featuring Jones testifying in a different, more knotty trio setting with Adam Lane on bass and Jason Nazary on drums. While the main trio manages fine without a bassist, this outing serves notice that they need look no further than Lane—with his muscular rhythmic sense and powerful booming tone—if they ever wish to avail themselves.

Track Listing: Roosevelt; Cry Out; We Are Unicorns; Meekness; Salty; Chasing the Ghost; Big Train Rollin'; Forgive Me; Chaych.

Personnel: Darius Jones: alto saxophone; Cooper-Moore: piano (2, 4, 8), diddley-bo (1, 3, 5, 6); Rakalam Bob Moses: drums (1, 2, 4-8).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "The Long Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Journey Home
by James Nadal
Published: March 17, 2017

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!