The first thing you notice about saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi is that he is an old soul. Not that he's old, he and bandmates guitarist Jeff Swanson, bassist Mike Harmon, and drummer Charles Rumback, are the next generation in Chicago's creative jazz tradition. It's his music that fits within the definition of old soul. It is comfortably easy to inhabit while avoiding being mainstream, patient with far-reaching wisdom that exhibits compassion and a certain inner peace. Ok, I know this is just music we are talking about, but spinning Natural Language, you can sense the thoughtful nature the saxophonist possesses.
The points of reference here are players like Joe Lovano and Mark Turner. A piece like "Weller" brings to mind drummer Paul Motian's work in the 1980s and 90s with Lovano and Bill Frisell. Swanson's turgid guitar work unveils the quartet's zeal, pushing Laurenzi a bit outward and, eventually, Rumback's accents to deepen. Laurenzi's compositions bring each player into the music, not merely as a supporting cast member, but as essential to the anatomy of the sound. "Little Wheel," built upon the rock solid pulse of Harmon, allows the piece to blossom with saxophone, guitar and drums as colorists.
Where the melodies are generally fleshed out between Laurenzi and Swanson, "Walter's Song" is a vehicle for saxophone and bass, then bass and guitar. The music has an unfading immorality to it. As does "Folk Song," their slice of Pat Metheny's Americana, which comes straight from their Midwestern souls.
Little Wheel; J.P.; Counterpoint; Weller; Folk Song; Walter's Song; Big Talk.
Dustin Laurenzi: tenor saxophone; Jeff Swanson:guitar; Mike Harmon: bass;
Charles Rumback: drums.
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