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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brad Dutz - Peripheral Hearing (Rattle Records, 2013) ***½

By Josh Campbell

My familiarity of Brad Dutz before picking up this album was strictly related to his appearance with the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble. Since I’ve been on a bit of a Vinny binge lately, when I saw this collaborators album I decided to give it a try. A quartet featuring Brad Dutz on percussion and mallets, Paul Sherman on oboe, James Sullivan on clarinets, and Chris Votek on cello, with Brad’s son Jasper Dutz sitting in on soprano sax and bass clarinet on six tracks.

The music is difficult to place your finger on. While it is definitely jazz, there are moments that have a definite chamber feel. Also moments of classical.  Given the info in the linar notes, it's no surprise these elements show up given all the artists experience in these settings. The other element that is noticed is deep reoccurring groove. The album itself includes eight songs composed by Brad (my guess, the reason for the deep groove) and eight improvised by the ensemble.

All tracks are rather short for improvised music, without a single track clocking in over seven minutes. Even with the short tracks, the album runs together between improvisation and composition and you can easily get lost in the album. The music itself does not breath fire. Its a very relaxed setting and the music reflects it. There aren’t any extended solos or high intensity back and forth. Upon first listen I wasn’t sure this album would be something that found regular rotation in my cd player, but it has place when a little relaxation is called for. The sound quality is top notch, and linear notes reflex the music, light, relaxed and elegantly done with detailed info about the artists and compositions/improvisations.