Dapp Theory: Y'All Just Don't Know

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Dapp Theory: Y'All Just Don't Know 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.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain" CD/LP/Track Review So Beautiful, It Starts To Rain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "North" CD/LP/Track Review North
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Young" CD/LP/Track Review Young
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!