125

Dapp Theory: Y'All Just Don't Know

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
By now, three albums out of the gate, Andy Milne has earned the right to stand on his own. The piano/keyboard player spent seven years with saxophonist Steve Coleman, a ten-disc tenure he likens (somewhat loftily) to the relationship McCoy Tyner had with John Coltrane—and the sharing of ideas within that context has touched his music forever. But like Tyner, he has retained his own voice and found new ways to express it. So enough of that heavy Coleman legacy.

Dapp Theory (in the Cosmic sense or otherwise) has been Milne's working unit for five years now, though obviously the group rides independently in the saddle. The quartet includes Milne on keys, Sean Rickman on drums, and Rich Brown on bass; Gregoire Maret adds color now and then on harmonica. Contrasting vocals from Bruce Cockburn and Kokayi provide an extra kick to half these tunes. Cockburn tends to bring a warm and lyrical touch; Kokayi rides on and off the beat, stabbing and pulsing rapidly.

The pieces on Y'All Just Don't Know depend on quirky rhythms and a heavy underlying respect for both the downbeat and the backbeat. Their cohesion depends on a sophisticated rhythmic sensibility. To coax the most energy out of this approach, the group must overlap in just the right way without ever sounding tight or simplistic. (God forbid!)

As two legs of this balanced table, Rich Brown and Sean Rickman are critical for support. And they handle the job well. The bassist constantly twists and revises relatively short units in order to continually goad the unit. Rickman makes frequent use of the bass drum to stab pointedly while he toys with the beat and the after-beat on the snare, generally keeping it staccato.

Too many easy catchwords can be used to label this music: funk, fusion, hip-hop, modern jazz, and that lingering M-BASE thing. They all work, but they also fail to capture the essence of the whole. "Only Clave" lifts off with a fluttering bass run alongside sparse snare hits, Milne dropping in easy keyboard textures and Maret working short phrases toward resolution. Two solos later, Kokayi punches out with a freestyling flair:

It's hot people mango butter
sizzle like the light drizzle rain drops on
Black tops in the mid-summer

And, well, you get the general idea. "Neoparadeigma" treads lightly into retro Jim Beard territory; "Bermuda Triangle" goes for broke on shifting, funky rhythmic blocks; "Y 2 K?" ripples ever onward through its brief three and a half minutes; Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma" receives a straight-ahead treatment. When the band pulls back, it tends to stall out now and then, and that's the only real shortcoming with Y'All Just Don't Know. Those occasional slips into '80s fusion don't stick around for long.

Dapp Theory may be a difficult earful for listeners who can't handle its unusual combination of soft lyricism and edgy narrative, simple celebration and raging romps. That presents no problem for me, and anyone who's open to Milne's fresh outlook will likely find it a revelation.

Visit Concord Records and Andy Milne on the web.


Track Listing: Trickle Down; Neoparadeigma; In The Moment; Con Alma; Bermuda Triangle; Everywhere Dance; Patterns of Force; Only Clave; Bad Air; Why 2 K?; Lullaby.

Personnel: Andy Milne: piano, keyboards, vocals; Gergoire Maret: harmonica; Sean Rickman: drums (except 1,9) and vocals (1,11); Rich Brown: bass. Featuring: Bruce Cockburn:vocals (1,6,9) and guitar (1,9); Kokayi: vocals (1,5,8,9,10). Also Mark Prince, Rich "Shadrach" Lazar, David Gilmore, Vashon Johnson, Vinia Mojica, Carla Cook.

Title: Y'all Just Don't Know | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Tiptoe" CD/LP/Track Review Tiptoe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Avalon
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Uncharted Waters" CD/LP/Track Review Uncharted Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 11, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.