All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

16

D'Vonne Lewis' Limited Edition: Unlimited

Paul Rauch By

Sign in to view read count
The debut album from D'Vonne Lewis' Limited Edition, Unlimited, presents a challenge for this writer, as well as listeners who have engaged its members in live performance, or playing in other ensembles. Live, they are a virtual powerhouse, allowing the stellar cast of musicians to fully immerse themselves both instrumentally, and compositionally. On this studio recording, the strength and energy of the band is evident, yet to some degree subdued, lacking the energy and interaction with a live audience that each member thrives on, in particular, the leader and drummer, D’Vonne Lewis.

It is the playing and contagious positivity of Lewis that invites us into the music emotionally, and engages us on that level that makes music integral in our lives. His virtuosity, his ability to allude to colors and to create new textures and sounds on the drum kit, is an identifiable trait whether playing in a hybrid ensemble such as Limited Edition, or playing in a standards trio or more traditional jazz setting.

The always adventurous ensemble also faces the challenge of supporting not only both piano and guitar, but vibraphone as well, demanding that all three musicians are attentive to not only what they play, but what they do not. This harmonic sensitivity between pianist Eric Verlinde, vibraphonist Jacques Willis, and guitarist Andy Coe, is a unique aspect of the ensemble's overall sound, bolstered brilliantly by uber bassist Farko Dosumov, and drummer Lewis. This balanced and hypnotic interaction provides a counterbalance to the strong and focused tones of tenor saxophonist Cliff Colón, who tends to fit seemingly the entirety of his tonal range, and advanced technique into condensed spaces, and short solos.

The ensemble's identity is clearly established with the opening salvo, "Singularity." The melody line is upheld by the aforementioned rhythm section providing a layered harmonic structure, a perfect medium for guitarist Coe to break off, and offer a gently rising, dynamic arc of a solo. Coe, whose overall musical and stylistic template ranges from John Abercrombie to Jerry Garcia seems to be the free piece to this band, largely due to the support of Verlinde and Willis. Colon offers a tumultuous solo, his tone strong and focused, and some of his recognizable language echoing that of Michael Brecker's sound. His distinct tone and daring harmonic forays are forever probing, reflecting a sense of urgency, yet at times seemingly lacking purpose, and rejecting the notion of release. Pianist Verlinde is perhaps the band's most inventive soloist, and is certainly a musician with a most impressive performance resume, having shared the stage with masters such as Hadley Caliman, Randy Brecker and Arturo Sandoval. His solo on this piece is emblematic of his performance throughout this recording, and generally speaking, of his role in this band. His solos are always brilliantly conceived and played, with a penchant for melodic content. In this large and multi layered ensemble, he is more often found providing the assist.

With his composition "Queen Bee," Lewis pays homage, to his grandmothers, and great grandmothers that have been a strong and loving influence. While Lewis is known as the grandson of organist and rock and roll pioneer, Dave Lewis, it was his grandmother Beverly, who gifted him his first drum set. The women in this remarkable, musical family provided the creative environment that has produced perhaps the most visible and energetically talented musician on the scene in the Pacific Northwest. A tender gospel ballad, the vibe is initially upheld by a beautifully ascendant solo from bassist Dosumov, who is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the true masters of the electric bass on the west coast, in all forms associated with jazz music. Lewis displays his talent for composition, with a melody that is classic in nature, loving and sentimental in a real life sense. As a drummer, Lewis is vibrant, positive and free, reflected in his creative being, as both a musician and composer.

Lewis' "Ingathering" is the record's most expansive number. Vibraphonist Willis begins the piece with a colorful cascade of perpetual melodic motion, in some ways frenetic, and in others reflective, layered on top of a two chord vamp. Verlinde is granted the space to build on the theme with his solo, and Colon follows with his most thoughtful work on the album. In many ways, the many pieces that constitute this musical union come together on this, the finale.

As I write this, the band is in the studio recording new original material from Willis and Colon. The project, once a side venture for Lewis from his successful band, Industrial Revelation, is evolving, gaining its own unique musical identity. The band's live performances are much anticipated in Seattle's best venues, such as Tula's and recently, The Northwest Folklife Festival. This record is an ample first step, providing the notion that what is to come, could indeed be special.

Track Listing: Singularity; Devastator; Queen Bee; Remembrance; Ingathering

Personnel: D'Vonne Lewis: drums; Andy Coe: guitar; Cliff Colón: tenor saxophone; Eric Verlinde: piano; Farko Dosumov: electric bass; Jacques Willis: vibraphone

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

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Between the Silence CD/LP/Track Review
Between the Silence
by John Kelman
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Flying CD/LP/Track Review
Flying
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Barxeta II CD/LP/Track Review
Barxeta II
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Vidas Simples CD/LP/Track Review
Vidas Simples
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read "The Cheap Ensemble" CD/LP/Track Review The Cheap Ensemble
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2017
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Marfa Loops Shouts and Hollers" CD/LP/Track Review Marfa Loops Shouts and Hollers
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2018
Read "The Groove Cubed" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Cubed
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Drifting Home" CD/LP/Track Review Drifting Home
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 15, 2017