The news about Paul Smoker passing away in May only reached me recently, and coincided with the news about Dominic Duval passing away too on July 22nd.
I did not know them enough to feel entitled to write a real obituary. I can only say their music has given me incredible moments of delight, and they will continue to do so. At this very moment I am listening to "Duocity In Brass & Wood 2", a recording of a duo performance of both artists, and a sequel to "Duocity In Brass & Wood 1", that features Smoker with Ed Schuller.
They share the same qualities, a deep-rooted sense of soul, a warm lyricism and a great comfort and expressivity in free contexts, even if both liked the more rhythmic or structured or bluesy anchoring once in a while. Their technical mastery was always at the service of their emotional authenticity.
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of Trio X, in which Dominic Duval played a key role with Joe McPhee and Jay Rosen. CIMP recently released the Trio's latest recordings, actually a series of four live albums, which I can highly recommend.
I want to thank them for the great music and uncompromising art they offered us. It was a great gift they have given us. We will continue to listen to their music with joy and sadness, as they would have wished.
Our thoughts go to their families and friends.