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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Darius Jones Trio - Man'ish Boy (AUM Fidelity, 2009) ****

Blues legend Muddy Waters' major hit Mannish Boy comes to mind when you hear the title, with its basic heavy blues beat and the great simple ironic text, full of the boasting self-confidence betraying insecurity of the growing adolescent, the contradiction that gives the music also its tension.

The subtitle completes the definition of this trio's music : "A Raw And Beautiful Thing". With this recording, alto saxophonist Darius Jones brings back to life his youth and growing up in the south of the US, and it should not be a surprise that the music is influenced by blues, gospel and jazz, but then altered in a very modern sound, with two apparent soulmates: Cooper-Moore on piano and diddley-bow, and Rakalam Bob Moses on drums. Soulmates because of their irreverent respect for tradition, their love of the direct emotional impact of rhythmic drive and soulful vamps. And even if the rhythm is implicit or evolving, as on "We Are Unicorns", on which the sax and the diddley-bow are in full dialogue, rhythm is omnipresent in the dark and eery tones of Cooper-Moore's instrument and the screeching wails of Jones' sax. But then on "Meekness", the style switches to an almost romantic trio playing a sweet melody that is gradually turned into a passionate paroxysm of emotional relief, only to be reduced to loose threads of sounds at the end. "Salty" is a short but poignant trio improvisation on which Jones demonstrates the subtlety of how a single tone can have many colors and sensitivities. "Chasing The Ghost" has a powerful forward drive, as the title already suggests, and a great vehicle for the musicians to let all their energy loose. "Big Train Rollin'" is a slow train, with the steam coming out of various pipes and valves, grinding machinery with high, shrieking notes of the alto, alternated with a deep note and back up again, and the whole thing comes to a slow halt at the end. The last track is more traditional and meditative and evolves into a bonus track with Adam Lane on bass and Jason Nazary on drums, a nice track by itself but somewhat altering the overall tone of the album.

As the subtitle says : "A Raw And Beautiful Thing". You can hear the potential, you can feel his passionate musical vision. With his debut album, he's already far above average, and I can't wait to hear more from this saxophonist.

 Listen and download from eMusic.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Unknown said...

Very true. There are still some time to listen to a concert by Jones trio on BBC

Guy said...

this is one of my favorite jazz albums of the year and one hell of a debut album. very powerful, emotional, roots-based stuff. i love it and can't wait to hear what's gonna come next

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend,Mike Pride's,2006 recording,"Hang"-From Bacteria To Boy's(Darius Jones,Evan Lipson,Pride)


wim wabbes said...

you also should check little women - a band where Darius Jones plays sax along side Travis Plante (on tenor). Incredibly energy - listen to their myspace:

they perform live at Arts Centre Vooruit on 11 May 2010

Darius Jones- Alto saxophone, Jason Nazary- Drum set, Travis Laplante- Tenor saxophone, Andrew Smiley- guitar