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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Arrington De Dionyso/Ben Bennett – Live at China Cloud 1/12/2018 (s/r, 2019) ****½

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos


I first came across Arrington De Dionyso not through his jazz-punk group Old Time Relijun, but through his visual art. And became obsessed with it. Arrington’s artworks chanels raw energy, sexual freedom and transcends a vision of a society (especially not the modern version of it) free of hatred and most of the –isms. Like racism and fascism. His music – be it free jazz, trance music from Eastern Asia or solo vocal blowouts – is the audio equivalent of his visual art. Ben Bennett is a below the radar drummer/percussionist who is gradually building a high quality discography partnering with important musicians like Michael Foster (another man who is working below the radar) and the great Jack Wright. I especially suggest his solo album from 2012, Spoilage.

This live recording comes from early 2018 at China Cloud venue in Vancouver, Canada. While it is certainly a high energy free jazz duo, it also encapsulates both musicians’ assets. Arrington is on tenor sax, bass clarinet, bromiophone and vocalisations and Bennett on drums and percussion. Right on I must admit that the quality of the music, plus the recording’s, is so high, that it’s a great pity few will listen. All of you interested you can listen to the recording through Arrington’s bandcamp.

As for the music itself, it never ceases to impress the listener. Every moment of the little more than 40 minutes recording is worth listening intensely. Their work as a duo sees them react to the challenges they face and overcoming them easily. It’s a high energy affair that both musicians add up to this energy flow while the two tracks evolve. They are in high form to say the least. De Dionyso’s playing seems focused on the audio colors he produces. From reeds playing up to his raga style vocalizations, he ensures that the organic flow of his vision never stops. Bennett’s playing is impeccable. He uses everything he can use on the drums, sometimes he leads, at some points he is laid back to ensure there’s time and space for Arrington. He seems that he is filling every inch of the venue’s space with his polyrhythm. Amazing even to someone’s untrained ears…The constant flow of sounds, notes, on the spot improvisations and short timed blowouts is a pure joy, a listening that will free your mind and brings solace to your soul from normality’s small atrocities.

 @ koultouranafigo


Nick Metzger said...

Great recommendation Fotis, I was unaware of these fantastic artists.