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Album Review

Though he'd left Seattle (and his earlier band, Bebop & Destruction) a few years prior, guitarist Dan Heck pulled some Seattle affiliates down to Florida for a recording session on Compositionality, a collection of originals spanning a range of ideas from bossa nova to modern drum-centric workouts. The album opens with a bumpy groove in a '60s vein that includes an electric bass solo courtesy of Rick Doll bubbly enough to have made Jaco Pastorius grin. In "Blade's Groove," the drums become a bit more prominent, as one might expect for a piece inspired by Brian Blade, but the piano and trumpet (courtesy of Stuart Shelton and Thomas Marriott, respectively) also take turns in the spotlight in something of a straightforward nightclub style. A major influence on many jazz guitarists, Pat Metheny, becomes the inspiration for "Stand Pat," and Heck plays accordingly. There's a little more bounce and a little less activity in "Tommy's Teeth," and "Dan's Hit Tune" uses a bossa nova bassline and a trumpeted analogy to Astrud Gilberto's ringing vocals to expand on a basic Brazilian motive. "Blue Stone" works with a walking groove that could have come from any Jimmy Smith pop album, and the album closes with a mix of Jobim and Bill Evans in "Ciao Jobs, I'm Not Rolan" and a final piece of straightforward grooving in "Naples," an ode to Heck's new hometown. There might not be a whole lot of excitement here in the songwriting — it's all capably penned, but without much surprise. The key to this album may not even be in Heck's guitar, which settles into the background for much of the recording. Instead, it's the rest of the assembled band that tends to steal the show — Marriott's trumpet becomes the voice of the group on more than one occasion, and the rhythm section comes to the forefront not only in solos but often in the quieter passages of Heck's playing. There's a good amount of excellent playing here — not always given the material the group could really capitalize on, but always up to the job it has in front of it.

Compositionality, Dan Heck
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  • 7,92 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 31 July 2008

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