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Mirrors - Broken But No Dust

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Album Review

Can you think of a better reason to start your own small label? Bay Area bassist Damon Smith, in 2000 a youngster of the up and coming type in improvised music, had a chance to perform live in a duet with European master Peter Kowald, one of his main influences. The encounter took place on Smith's ground in Oakland, CA, on April 28, 2000. Mirrors — Broken but No Dust contains a half-hour piece from that concert. The remainder of the disc comes from a studio session recorded by Myles Boisen five days later. The two-part "Broken Mirrors" showcases the two bassists in a piece of civilized exchanges. It would have been nice to have better stereo separation in order to hear more distinctly what each brought to the music, as the two basses tend to mesh in the middle of the spectrum. Nevertheless, it's a good improv, average for Kowald even though it lacks a bit of excitement. The seven "Reflections" (the studio recordings) are much better. Individualities become more tangible and the ideas developed are shorter and simpler. The first and fifth parts have particular appeal. Smith clearly emulates his elder (he even vocalizes like him in the last track, although here it takes the form of a homage/pastiche) but doesn't sound intimidated by his presence, which would have been the real trap. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

Years Active:

Double bassist Damon Smith surfaced on the Bay Area free improvisation scene in the mid-'90s. His style is akin to Peter Kowald and Joëlle Léandre: intense, lush, acutely free-form, and yet inhabited by a form of lyricism. He first performed alongside saxophonist Marco Eneidi. Since then, he has played with many musicians from San Francisco and abroad. In 2001, he launched his own record label, Balance Point Acoustics. Born Damon Jesse Smith on October 17, 1972, he came to music rather late and...
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Mirrors - Broken But No Dust, Damon Smith
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