Saxophonist Darius Jones' solo recording Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation) is the embodiment of the word unpasteurized. Captured in the fall of 2019, the music is raw and untreated. Maybe 'pure' is a better word here. The musician known for his muscular approach to the alto saxophone lowers the armored facade we all seem to wrap ourselves in these days. He delivers covers of five compostions, four from what he describes as "unapologetically Black" composers, Sun Ra}, Ornette Coleman, and Roscoe Mitchell, and the soul singer Georgia Anne Muldrow. The fifth cover is of the jazz standard "Beautiful Love" form the 1930s which has been covered by the likes of Bing Crosby, Anita O'Day, and Bill Evans.
Jones' performance is captured in front of an audience in Portland, Oregon but it has the same feel as that of Joe McPhee's Tenor (Hat Hut Records, 1977) recorded solo in a farmhouse in the mountains of Switzerland. Muldrow's "Figure No. 2" relies on both the particular atmospherics, i.e mood of the room, and the call-and-response blues that Jones stoically delivers. "Sadness" first captured on Coleman's Town Hall 1962 (ESP Disk, 1965) is delivered with a solemn due regard. Jones' tempo sustains the emotional resonance of the composition, as if it were a long goodbye. With "Beautiful Love," the mood softens allowing a glimmer of hope, an emotion many would abandon with the soon-to-arrive pandemic. Jones elevates Mitchel's "Nonaah," to the status of a new standard with his horn plotting points on an audible schematic diagram. Finally, there's Herman Sonny Blount's "Love In Outer Space" which opens with an overblown fury before amping up the intensity only to resolve itself with the unspoken familiar refrain "Sunrise/Love for the world to see/Sunrise in outer space/Love for every face." Amen.
Figure No. 2; Sadness; Beautiful Love; Nonaah; Love In Outer Space.
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