464

David Braid Sextet: Zhen: David Braid Sextet Live Volume II

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
David Braid Sextet: Zhen: David Braid Sextet Live Volume II Zhen feels like an important record: the compositions make big impressions, the playing is intense, and the sound is joyous. On this live set, we are listening to David Braid's regular sextet, which has been together since 2001 and was recently heard on Vivid (2004). That album, together with Mnemosyne's March (2006), another live album with Braid and Mike Murley, and Zhen, paints a picture of Braid as a player and composer who is growing astonishingly quickly.

The part writing is both intricate and wide open, allowing plenty of room for the soloists. The effects that Braid gets out of this sextet are always surprising, yet they have an appropriateness that aids forward movement through the story the piece is telling. The scaffolding that has been composed allows the music to be played for the audience, rather than at it.

I have always experienced the Canadian scene as creating accessible, rhythmic, melodic yet deep music that is also very welcoming and open, inviting the listener to get inside. Braid is particularly good at this in both his composing and playing.

Much of the album is tinged with the sounds of the East, as epitomized by scales that expose different intervals than we are used to hearing. The most dramatic, and, because of its placement right after the opening blues, the most shocking, is "Lydian Sky." This melody is one of the most beautiful Braid has ever written, while at the same time exposing the function of the augmented fourth (as opposed to the flatted fifth of bebop). This music caresses the ear as it tickles the mind. While this review is not the best place for a discussion of George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, this piece captures what I hear as the core meaning of the theory.

After bass and piano establish the tonal center, Murley enters with a sultry soprano sax sound and plays a melody that starts with and repeats the augmented fourth, as if daring us to hear it as wrong. It just hangs there untethered until the harmony shifts underneath it as if being forced to resolve by the power of this note. The music then begins to unfold and grow, with gorgeous part writing behind Murley's solo. The pause for breath in the middle with a partial, normal-sounding cadence only reiterates that the strange sounds are really perfectly normal in the right context. This piece shows the mastery of instrumental forces and control of harmony that Braid now evinces.

The set ends with a version of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" that is so fetchingly different in both harmony and feel as to make one question the original, while tying together the harmonic concepts that "Lydian Sky" introduced with a familiar piece.

This band's longevity and cohesiveness allow Braid to develop knowing that he has a vehicle to play his music—outstanding, superb music—effortlessly.


Track Listing: Fishers of Men; Lydian Sky; Temptress; Dance of the Zinfadels; Andalusia; Sai Kung; Giant Steps.

Personnel: David Braid: piano; Gene Smith: trombone; John McLeod: flugelhorn, cornet; Mike Murley: tenor and soprano saxophones; Steve Wallace: bass; Terry Clarke: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: David Braid | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Bathysphere" CD/LP/Track Review Bathysphere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Live at the JazzRoom" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the JazzRoom
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Fly South" CD/LP/Track Review Fly South
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review After Dark
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 20, 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!