Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

3

Greg Duncan & The Individuation Quintet: Unification

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz musicians derive inspiration from all kinds of sources—but there probably aren't many who are inclined to build an entire series of songs around concepts connected to Jungian psychology. Trumpeter and composer Greg Duncan is quite earnest in this endeavor, however, and on this release he gives musical expression to a number of aspects of Carl Jung's theory of "individuation": the process by which human beings must unify the conscious and subconscious aspects of the self (hence the title of the album) in order to become fully realized as people. Although this is pretty cerebral stuff for a jazz record, one needn't delve into the esoterica of early analytical psychology in order to appreciate what is in fact a fine album of mostly up-tempo, straight-ahead jazz, handled adroitly by Duncan's Individuation Quintet, a group he's headed since 2014.

With an airtight rhythm section comprised of pianist Benjamin Lewis, bassist Joel Kelsey and drummer Xavier Breaker, Duncan's got the perfect resource to execute crafty compositions that frequently involve changing time signatures and complex themes. Case in point is a track like "Constellated," which begins with an easygoing 3/4 groove that builds in intensity by moving into a 5/4 section that catalyzes a spirit of excitement and propulsive energy. And the rhythm section is always moving: listen to the fine comping on the horn solos during "Anima," where Lewis's feisty chords, Kelsey's lockdown bass lines and Breaker's creative interjections on the kit offer trustworthy support for Duncan and tenor saxophonist Doug Rosenberg. They're also rhythmically flexible enough to accommodate Duncan's Latin-inflected ideas, something one can hear a bit of on pieces like "Out on a Limb" or "Shadow Side," and a lot of on "Thinking Light," a winsome samba track.

Both horn players possess strong voices, with Duncan and Rosenberg especially compelling when soloing in tandem, which they do quite skillfully on "Anima," where they echo and respond to each other's lines engagingly. Duncan's solo on "Path of Light and Darkness" is a thoughtful display of precision combined with lyrical resonance, bringing Kenny Wheeler to mind in the process. And on the album's closer, Branford Marsalis's "Say Hey," the whole band uses that blues-based composition for an opportunity to turn it loose for a while.

Despite the seriousness of the record's concept (and Duncan, to his credit, is donating half of all proceeds from the release to Mental Health America), there's no denying these guys' ability to produce some first-rate jazz that is quite enjoyable, and very nicely played as well.

Track Listing: Intro. To The Subconscious; Out On A Limb; Constellated; Anima; Red’s Song; Shadow Side; Path Of Light And Darkness; Thinking Light; Say Hey.

Personnel: Greg Duncan: trumpet, flugelhorn; Doug Rosenberg: tenor saxophone; Ben Lewis: piano; Xavier Breaker: drums; Joel Kelsey: bass.

Title: Unification | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Form" CD/LP/Track Review Form
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Mogoya" CD/LP/Track Review Mogoya
by James Nadal
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Free Radicals" CD/LP/Track Review Free Radicals
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 7, 2017