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Todd Neufeld: Mu'U

Mark Sullivan By

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Guitarist Todd Neufeld makes his debut as a leader, after recording with drummer Tyshawn Sorey on his Koan (482 Music, 2009) and Oblique-l (Pi Recordings, 2011) albums and working with the late Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, saxophonists Lee Konitz and Tony Malaby, and others.

After the brief introduction "Dynamics" with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummers Billy Mintz and Tyshawn Sorey, vocalist Rema Hasumi joins in on "Echo's Bones," giving the piece a welcome focal point. She is the lead instrument on "Novo Voce" until the guitar and trombone take over, performing a similar function on "Kira."

It's a generally languid sound, Neufeld's gentle, sometimes lyrical guitar abstractions accompanied by a textural soundscape from the two drummers. Even the brief drum duet on "C.F.G." (which has the most bebop-influenced theme on the album) is a cooperative, non-bombastic affair. Sorey makes a rare appearance playing bass trombone—on "Contraction" his repeated riffs provide an additional supportive structural layer, while "Novo Voce" finds him in dialog with the other instruments. Neufeld and Mintz play two brief duets, both exercises in texture and restraint.

All these musicians have a healthy respect for dynamics, and are not afraid of silence. Listening to Mu'U is like overhearing an intense conversation among old friends.

Track Listing: Dynamics; Echo's Bones; Entrance; C.G.F.; Contraction; Taunti; Novo Voce; Kira; Nor

Personnel: Todd Neufeld: electric guitar; Thomas Morgan: acoustic bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums, bass trombone (5 and 7); Billy Mintz: drums, congas (2); Rema Hasumi: voice (2, 5, 7, 8)

Title: Mu'U | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Ruweh Records

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