Home » Jazz Articles » Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)

232
Album Review

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

By

Sign in to view read count
Darius Jones: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)
Alto saxophonist Darius Jones' birthplace was Virginia, where, historically, slavery was as indigenous to the state as the cotton fields. Inheriting a tradition of story- telling through music, Jones considers his debut, Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing), "one sonic tone poem" that describes different aspects of growing up on a farm, in a loving family setting, where he listened to music ranging from reggae to classical. Jones composed five of the record's eight tracks, with co-writing credit on the other three.

Coupled with his highly experienced mentors, multi-instrumentalist and pianist Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses, thirty-one year old altoist Jones melds a trio whose central avenue for expression becomes how well the alto shows its face both within hard-driving rhythmic swing and the edgy eloquence of the improvisation.

Jones carries a strong lead, using a process that can slowly build and stretch the melody over a rocking piano line and incessant drum flurries ("Cry Out") or construct auditory images out of an array of carefully chosen phrases ("Big Train Rollin'"). Jones illustrates with his horn just as much as he seeks multiple tones ensconced in color ("Roosevelt"). It is easy for him to describe disturbing anguish by wailing, tooting or screaming with split tones ("Cry Out"); convey a peculiar wonder with an ever-changing line that concludes with vibratos ("We Are Unicorns"); or, with pure and reedy blue notes that march up the scale ("Meekness"), display a kind of longing that only his big-hearted sensibility can express. He is fearless to explore outside of conventional boundaries as he runs arpeggios in the company of tatting cymbals and drums ("Salty"). He does not refrain from repeating themes that trigger a volume of phrasings or a rally of gutsy slurred notes through an active percussion line ("Chasin' The Ghost").

Fundamental to Jones' musical integrity is the percussion. Cooper-Moore's instinct for how rhythm shapes musicality is inimitable. His solid piano playing can maintain a captivating heavy bass chord pulse, with one hand, and, with the other, imitate the bass figures, interspersed with flying treble chords, notes, runs and trills ("Cry Out"). But Cooper-Moore's performance on the diddley-bo extends and bends the atmospheric sound unlike any other instrument could, as he incorporates its wide-open identity into the flow of the drumming ("Chasin' The Ghost," "We Are Unicorns," "Salty"). Furthermore, Moses' drum work sustains the backdrop, with a constancy that is relentless, but not over-charged. If he is not tatting and rolling his sticks on the snare, he is flicking or swooshing the cymbals. At the conclusion of "Big Train Rollin,'" Moses picks up the mallets to soften the drums' impact, not to detract from, but to emphasize the subject of the music.

In the last piece, Jones' "Forgive Me," Cooper-Moore introduces an irrepressibly soulful tune. Jones follows with equal voice, only to yield to Cooper-Moore who continues to evoke the song's tenderness until its end. It is this tenderness that typifies the recording, the child of one "man'ish boy."

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 and diddley-bo; Rakalam Bob Moses: drums; Adam Lane: bass (9); Jason Nazary: drums (9).

Album information

Title: Man'ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Tone Paintings
Craig Davis
Yes Tomorrow
Paul Dunmall Quintet
Isn't It Romantic
Judy Whitmore
The Pan American Nutcracker Suite
Joe McCarthy's Afro Bop Alliance Big Band

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.