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Album Review

Scott DuBois is not your run-of-the-mill jazz guitarist. His thorny, diffuse, quick, hard-edged style is not reflective of any contemporary peer, save perhaps Jeff Parker, Hilmar Jensson, or Scott Fields. What DuBois does offer is a highly developed sense of harmonic acumen, a lithe and sinewy athletic tautness, and a brave attitude to play differently. Front-line partner Gebhard Ullmann is also a progressive, aggressive, thinking improviser whose tenor sax or bass clarinet inventions work well aside or apart from DuBois. This program of seven originals written by DuBois gives acknowledgement to both hard and free bop while retaining a vision of modern musical constructs from an American and European perspective. The foundation is internally or indirectly tuneful; far from phony or derivative; never bright, happy, or sugarcoated. All indicators of a new approach to jazz guitar are evident off the bat on "Mid to the West," introduced by slow and deliberate lines from DuBois and Ullmann, remaining that way while bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Kresten Osgood churn up a juxtaposed boppish storm. DuBois conjures half-speed phrases à la Ornette Coleman with staccato accents and screeching stops during the hard bopper "Inverse," a perfect title for this obtuse piece. Staggered phrases abound during "Mouse Song," with more abrupt cease-fires, and the very busy "Apparition" is hardly ghostlike, but more scattered and versed in physical phenomena. At the somber end of the spectrum, DuBois and Ullmann play together for "Canaria," with gong, cymbal, and bass precluding a haunting tone and Ullmann's overblown bass clarinet. More thoughtful in a laid-back Bill Frisell Americana mood is "Old Man on Platform," while "Bend" is brittle melodically in ascending and descending stairstep patterns with Ullmann's soprano sax the ultimately flexible instrument of the quartet on a lighter swinging pathway. While not snarly or nasty, DuBois sports a slightly dirty sound that is more earthy than atmospheric. It's an acquired taste for those who might enjoy a more conventional contemporary guitar sound, but adventurous listeners will want a piece of this action. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Banshees, Scott DuBois
View in iTunes
  • $6.93
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 24, 2008

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