398

Dave Burrell: Momentum

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Burrell: Momentum
For the first time in almost thirty years, pianist Dave Burrell returned to the studio to record as a leader with William Parker and Andrew Cyrille on 2004's Expansion (High Two). Momentum features Burrell recording for the first time with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Guillermo E. Brown, continuing to explore the classic piano trio format. With this new blood, Burrell hones in on the jazz tradition with intensity and focus, delivering one of the finest statements of his career.

Burrell explores a variety of moods from introspective to assertive on six new compositions, half of which ("Downfall," "4:30 to Atlanta," "Broken Promise") were composed to accompany Oscar Micheaux's 1925 silent film, Body and Soul, and a sublime new arrangement of "Coup d'Etat." Many of Burrell's recent pieces are inspired by the current tempestuous political climate, providing the session with an undercurrent of bluesy melancholy and dramatic tension.

Burrell is in fantastic form, his playing assured and resolute, his focus and commitment to the tunes palpable. He launches splintery fragments over the lumbering, deconstructed funk groove of "Downfall" with impetuous nerve. Conversely, his tender, regal touch on "Fade to Black" is delivered with conviction and restraint, almost neo-classical in its austerity and grace.

The title track finds him boisterous and exploratory, expelling cascades of fleeting notes and crushing block chords as Formanek and Brown accent his labyrinthine excursions. The closing cut, "Coup d'Etat," reprised from Expansion, swings leisurely at first, and then shifts tempos as Burrell casually navigates the changes.

Perfectly suited to Burrell's open-ended aesthetic, Formanek and Brown accompany him with elastic timing and a malleable compromise between structure and freedom. Modulating with endless variation through individual song forms, they maintain edgy forward momentum without losing track of the individual tunes' framework.

Burrell is a magnanimous leader, allowing his able-bodied sidemen equal time in the spotlight. Formanek delivers a striking bowed bass solo on the opening of "Fade to Black" and plucks sultry, lyrical statements throughout "Cool Reception." Brown introduces "4:30 to Atlanta" with a roiling and turbulent drum solo, subtly accompanied by Burrell's muted chords and Formanek's slippery bass work.

Momentum is a mature and haunting album from an acknowledged master—and a definitive statement from an underappreciated legend.

Track Listing

Downfall; Broken Promise; Fade to Black; 4:30 to Atlanta; Cool Reception; Momentum; Coup d'Etat.

Personnel

Dave Burrell: piano, Michael Formanek: bass; Guillermo E. Brown: drums.

Album information

Title: Momentum | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: High Two Recordings

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.