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Talented musicians seem to arrive in New York by the busload every day. In fact, the music schools, local and otherwise, are churning them out yearly and depositing them unceremoniously onto the mean streets of this city, where they compete for scanty gigs and elusive attention. Two recent arrivals, bassist Shayna Dulberger and guitarist/cellist Chris Welcome, have quickly carved out spots on the underground scene by playing lots of low-paying gigs and pouring their hearts into every one.
They teamed up with the unique, underappreciated drummer John McLellan and recorded the results on Wound Unwound and Within, a set of thoughtful, fussy improvised pieces in the Derek Bailey tradition. These five interesting tracks are good listening, though they lack somewhat in variety.
Dulberger and Welcome, both relatively young musicians, play with maturity and poise. Dulberger's playing is intensely energetic, reminiscent of the terrific Adam Lane's style. Welcome plays a hollowbody jazz guitar with no effects. His style is more brain than emotion, with occasional flurries that recall Dom Minasi. McLellan, known for an unparalleled use of space, plays busier than usual here, which is to say less busy than just about any drummer alive.
Track Listing: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.
Personnel: Chris Welcome: guitar; Shayna Dulberger: bass; John McLellan: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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