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Domenic Landolf: New Brighton

Dan Bilawsky By

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Thirteen musical episodes—simultaneously stressing individual paths, duo rapport and trio interplay—make up New Brighton. Multi-reedist Domenic Landolf shows that he knows how to go out on a limb, creating challenging music, but he always balances the adventurous with the accessible. Stability—whether dealing with rhythm or melody—is the key factor here. One musician will often provide a stabilizing element that tethers the rest of the musicians to one another. These ideas don't always last for an entire piece—often arriving after a minute or two or coming in and out of the music—but they always help to provide steady ground to be built upon.

"Malstrom," which begins with some tom work from drummer Dejan Terzic, lives in an uncertain state until bassist Patrice Moret provides a firm bass/base line and then Terzic moves to a snare drum-based cadence. Likewise, zigzagging phrases are present at the top of the title track and the music only really gels when Terzic establishes a firmer groove. Once this happens, Landolf settles in and sounds terrific. When Landolf moves to flute—providing some eerie three-note cells over vague ambience at the top of "Calling The Spirit"—it's hard to know where things are going. Just when this one looks like it will float away, Moret is there again to lock things in.

While the above examples are an indication of the way Landolf's musical constructs are often held together, communication between musicians is what really keeps it interesting. The album-opening "Lehar" begins as a saxophone-centered piece with some glockenspiel work from Terzic and supportive bass work from Moret. As time goes on, bass and saxophone become more conversant and Terzic still remains in the background. Little by little, Terzic joins the conversation and becomes an equal partner and—as a bonus—Moret provides a terrific bass solo here. "W.E." is the most immediately impressive display of Landolf's abilities as a writer and saxophonist. His playing, whether working over Moret's instantly appealing bass line, moving in unison with Moret, or soloing, is hip as can be. Terzic's playing is equally pleasing but Landolf doesn't let it go there. After a couple minutes, the music starts to disintegrate...but then it comes back to life and continues its joyous journey.

As good as Landolf is on tenor saxophone, his bass clarinet work might be better. "Les Bouts Du Monde" is a beautiful display of musical intimacy between these three musicians and exceptional balance exists between bass and bass clarinet here. This is just one of many examples of the shared vision between Landolf, Moret and Terzic on New Brighton.

Track Listing: Lehar; Storm Chaser; Les Bouts Du Monde; W.E.; Calling the Spirits; Cho Oyu; Enchanted Beans; Fjord; Kululeka; Malstrom; New Brighton; The Beatles Go East; My Old Flame.

Personnel: Domenic Landolf: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, alto flute; Patrice Moret: bass; Dejan Terzic: drums, glockenspiel.

Title: New Brighton | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

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