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Friday, December 12, 2008

Dragons 1976 (Not Two, 2008) ***½

"Dragons 1976" are Aram Shelton on sax, Tim Daisy on drums and vibes, and Jason Ajemian on bass. All three were born in 1976, hence the name of the band, and they met in Chicago. With this trio they explore without boundaries, yet never leaving solid ground either. They take their time to do that, listening carefully and moving forward in a very cohesive way. The music is nice and sensitive, melodic and focused. There are moments of extreme slowness, as on "Loaded", or "She Lay Sleeping", lullaby-like with Daisy on vibes, working full of subtlety with and around silence, but on some tracks this approach explodes in full force, as on "Hold In High", beginning slowly yet offering Daisy the opportunity to up the tempo during a drums solo. "Too Tight" starts with a fast rhythm for a change, over which Shelton delivers an almost speaking solo, sticking to the same tonal center, yet when Ajemian joins, it becomes more boppish and melodic. These are three good musicians, with lots of possibilities, fun to hear, yet their music could use little more of a distinct approach to be really gripping and unique, it is a little bit too nice and conventional to my taste.

© stef