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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Darren Johnston & Tim Daisy - Crossing Belmont (Relay Digital, 2017) ****

By Stef Gijssels

Sometimes it's hard to write about music, even if the music is great, and that's the case on this album. Trumpeter Darren Johnston and drummer Tim Daisy give us two long pieces to enjoy. The first clocks at twenty-five minutes, the second at almost ten. It does not seem as if anything has been agreed upon in advance, and it's this kind of jump and go attitude that creates a very fresh and authentic sound. The first five minutes give us a high energy interaction, with repeated phrases on the trumpet and power percussion, and suddenly the mood becomes calmer, with Daisy demonstrating his inventiveness by playing a slow solo, a kind of sphere-setting thing. Johnston's moaning sounds, electronically altered and muted, creates a deep heartfelt emotion before taking up renewed energy and intensity.

Both Johnston and Daisy are wonderful improvisers, who shift inside and outside the traditional use of their instruments, listening well to each other, and often taking the listener by surprise, while at the same time creating a story that unfolds before your ears, crisp, crackling and sparkling, and fun.

The performance was recorded live on April 23, 2017 at the Hungry Brain in Chicago, and is among the absolutely enjoyable ones in our long list of trumpet-piano duos.