The Dream features the first recorded example of multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter playing piano. While this revelation is impressive enough, the album itself is a fascinating and endlessly rewarding listen. Ably accompanied by bassist William Parker and drummer Federico Ughi, Carter demonstrates remarkable facility on a half-dozen different instruments in settings ranging from sober to tumultuous.
Opening the album with "This Is the Dream" Carter reveals a piano technique reminiscent of fellow avant gardists Cecil Taylor, Dave Burrell and Don Pullen. His turn at the keyboard emphasizes rousing pointillistic urgency and methodical development. His kinetic, hyper-linear attack is underscored by the rhythm section's relentless, throttling undercurrent.
Equally intriguing is the presence of bassist William Parker playing tuba on a number of tunes. On the blistering "The Truth in the Core," Parker stutters out dense, brassy pedal tones while Ughi whips up a stirring, percussive frenzy. Carter wails away on his brusque tenor, heaving split tones with abandon. "Notorious" features the same instrumentation, this time a sumptuous swinger, with Parker blurting out walking patterns as Ughi provides casual swing that Carter uses to spin melodious variations on his tenor sax. The piece concludes in a genteel conversation between tenor and tuba.
"Life Beyond Death" proves the most unique combination. Carter's pneumatic piano duels with Parker's expressive, breathy tuba. Ughi drives the two with a lumbering, fractious rhythm, intensifying it as the piece progresses until it explodes in a maelstrom of loping, circuitous piano refrains and blustery tuba incantations.
But Parker doesn't abandon his main instrument completely. He generates considerable heat on "The Traditionalist!," a solo exploration of the expressive qualities of the bowed bass. Likewise, Ughi summons an energy level similar to Rashied Ali's infamous performance on Coltrane's Interstellar Space on "6 1/2 Billion." Parker spawns a pulverizing flurry of notes on his upright to keep pace, while Carter spirals out taut alto phrases of biting intensity.
"Spiritual Awakening" is a roiling feature for Carter's trumpet. Ughi slowly generates an increasingly turbulent undertow while Parker bleats out contrapuntal tuba lines, Carter's horn defiantly soaring overhead, executing vigorous fanfares. "Little Did I Know" begins as a reflective flute meditation. Building gradually to a swinging middle section, the piece ends with Carter briefly switching to trumpet for authoritative closing statements before the tune fades out.
A number of these pieces fade in and out, obviously edited down from longer excursions. The abrupt edits are the only downside to the album, but they indicate that a second volume may not be far behind.
With an exceptionally high level of group interaction and a judicious combination of lengthy improvisations and short interludes, The Dream is a marvelously diverse representation of these three musicians' multifarious talents. This remarkable achievement should be required listening for those in search of inventive free improvisation.
This Is the Dream; Little Did I Know; 6 1/2 Billion; Showering of Gifts; The Truth in the Core; Never Before; Zero Softly; The Traditionalist!; Sea Soul; Spiritual Awakening; Stillness; Notorious; Life Beyond Death; Tempting Faith.
Daniel Carter: alto and tenor saxophones, trumpet, flute, clarinet, piano; William Parker: bass, tuba, shakuhachi; Federico Ughi: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings 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 step that will help musicians and venues 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 sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.