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Modern jazz/improvising bassist Dominic Duval and the inimitable saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee join forces yet again, along with drummer John Heward on this sprightly and altogether attractive release titled, Undersound. With this new effort, no two pieces sound alike. And other than two interesting solo bass excursions by Duval, the musicians dart, nudge and counterbalance one another as McPhee performs solely on soprano saxophone throughout the entire affair. On “Undersound 3”, Heward executes crooked march-style rhythms yet accelerates the momentum via his colorful cymbal work, rim shots and kaleidoscopic beats whereas on “Undersound 5”, the drummer kicks up a quiet storm with an enigmatic yet conspicuously thematic drum solo.
McPhee turns in an absolutely gorgeous theme on the lamentable, “Undersound 6”, as Duval often mimics the saxophonist in true conversational fashion with his dexterous plucking and serpentine arco-bass lines. Hence, each track offers a unique perspective of an integrated concept as the musicians explore and expound upon sounds that reach out and affect the listener via buoyant interplay and spunky dialogue. Here, the musicians paint a mighty impressive aural canvass!
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Dominic Duval; bass: Joe McPhee; soprano saxophone: John Heward; drums, kalimba
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.