Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two's A Winner (Part 1)

Don't know much about drummer Deric Dickens but one listen to "Speed Date" (self-released) and you'll know he's influenced by Ornette Coleman and the "Mu" duo of Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell (you'll also know that if you read the liner notes, which I did after listening to the CD.) Joining him on this 20-track "date" are Ben Cohen (tenor saxophone on 3 tracks), Jon Crowley (trumpet on 3 tracks), Kirk Knuffke (cornet on 4 tracks), Jeff Lederer (tenor saxophone on 2 tracks, clarinet on 1), Jeremy Udden (alto and C Melody saxophone on 3 tracks) and Matt Wilson (drums, wooden flute, bottle on 4 tracks).   6 tracks were created "by the clock" in that a stop watch was used and the duo had 74 seconds to instantly compose a piece.

Each participant brings his special flavor to the program, whether it's Lederer somewhat madcap style, Knuffke's exploratory side, Crowley's low-key playfulness (a la Lester Bowie), Udden's sweetly melodic side, Cohen's mellow edge (a Ben Webster quality is evident in his smoky tones) and Wilson's...well, Matt Wilson is always irrepressible. Lederer's "Duck Dance", adapted from a traditional Seminole Indian song is a quirky formal then informal then "free" romp while "Swing It Sista", featuring Udden, could easily have been a radio favorite in the 1930s or 40s (dig that hepcat brush work.) Knuffke's "coronet" (at least, that is what's listed in the liner notes) jumps out of the speakers on the danceable "Roy at the Store" while turning muted and mournful on "Knowing the Unknown."  Wilson and Dickens do their Buddy Rich impressions on the short but spunky "Hold On" Barney", go "native" on the sharp-edged "I Don't Speak Caveman" (Wilson shrieking on wooden flute) and tell quite a story on "Search For the Cobra."  Dickens can be flashy but prefers to swing with Lederer on the saxophonist's free-bopping "4 on the Floor." Crowley stays in his trumpet's mid and lower ranges for "Bizsnatch" and dances along on the snappy "My Beard Only Grows Red" (one of the pieces where you can really hear the Blackwell influence and also shades of Billy Higgins.)

"Speed Date" should please listeners who believe that 21st Century jazz is too conservative (that is what I have read in some publications.)  Deric Dickens and his 6 collaborators are very involved in their dialogues and, lucky us, we get to sit right in the middle.  For more information, go to

No comments:

Post a Comment