Dominic Duval | Jimmy Halperin | Brian Willson | Music of John Coltrane | No Business Records

Dominic Duval – bass | Jimmy Halperin – tenor saxophone | Brian Willson – drums

Tracklist CD: 1. Giant Steps 10’43” 2. Moments Notice 10’13” 3. Living Space 11’51” 4. Syeeda’s Song Flute 9’52” 5. Naima 11’16” 6. Pursuance / from A Love Supreme 14’06”

Tracklist LP: Side A 1. Moments Notice 10’13” 2. Living Space 11’51” Side B 1. Syeeda’s Song Flute 9’52” 2. Naima 11’16”

NoBusiness Records NBCD17, 2010, Edition of 500 cd‘s * Recorded during December 2009 at Parkwest studios Brooklyn, New York by Jim Clouse * All compositions by John Coltrane, arranged by Dominic Duval (KATDOM BMI), Jimmy Halperin (KATDOM BMI) and Brian Willson (KATDOM BMI) * The photo of Dominic Duval, Jimmy Halperin and Brian Willson made by Herb Greene at La Caucina, Guelph Ontario * Mastered by Arunas Zujus at MAMA studios * Design by Oskaras Anosovas * Produced by Danas Mikailionis * Co-producer – Valerij Anosov


There have been many tributes

to the great tenor saxophonist John Coltrane since his passing, and the years have done nothing to dull the power of his music. This is a heartfelt nod to Coltrane from a collective group consisting of Dominic Duval on bass, Jimmy Halperin on tenor saxophone and Brian Willson on drums. The group plays music from each phase of Coltrane’s influential career, and they make their own personal statements from these well known compositions. Opening with “Giant Steps,” the music has a strong trio improvisation. Halperin’s tone is deep and dark on the tenor saxophone, yet he is patient and allows the music to come to him, building in hints of melody and developing a strong swing. A nimble bass and drum interlude takes us back to a fast paced trio finale. “Moments Notice” develops strong and free, and moves to a choppy melody with caustic saxophone leading the way. Duval’s bass is deep and potent and provides a pivot point for the saxophone meltdown that drives the performance home. The group takes a subtle approach to “Living Space” with probing bass and high pitched tenor saxophone grappling for purchase. They develop an abstract improvisation on the dark theme of the song that gives way to seeking and scalding collective playing. “Syeeda’s Song Flute” gets a swirling melodic introduction featuring fast and strong bass playing and sweeping drums. The trio delves deep into the song before splitting off into a bass solo with subtle percussion and a return to the melody. The ballad “Naima” has swirls of saxophone and big hearted bass along with delicate brushwork creating a spacious and patient performance. “Pursuance,” one of the movements of Coltrane’s classic album A Love Supreme finishes the album with a torrid statement of the theme, and then a series of fascinating abstract improvisations up on the line. This was a well done and heartfelt tribute to a man that continues to inspire generations of musicians. The performances are reverent to the Coltrane legacy, but the musicians inject their own stories into the performances which gives the music added resonance and power. —Tim Niland


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2 thoughts on “Dominic Duval | Jimmy Halperin | Brian Willson | Music of John Coltrane | No Business Records

  1. Why would modern improvisers want to create a session around music over 50 years old? That’s the question the pairing of bassist Dominic Duval and saxophonist Jimmy Halperin look to answer over the 68-minute program of The Music of John Coltrane. Having already delved into the Thelonious Monk songbook on Monkinus (CIMP, 2006) and Monk Dreams (No Business, 2009), the duo this time has drummer Brian Willson along for the ride, and an honest, engaging and enjoyable ride it is too.

    Duval numbers some heavyweight assignations on his dance card, with ten years spent in the company of piano iconoclast Cecil Taylor, and an ongoing stake in Trio X, with multi instrumentalist Joe McPhee. With drummer/composer/educator Willson, he has also fuelled the flights of saxophonist Ivo Perelman on Mind Games (Leo, 2009). Halperin is a less combustible commodity than the Brazilian, but study with the legendary pianist Lennie Tristano and tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh bespeaks a sophisticated harmonic conception.

    Compared to Monk, Trane is almost unfashionable these days, but the trio stretches out on a selection of the master’s middle and late period tunes, featuring one from Blue Train (Blue Note, 1958), three from Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1959), one from the classic A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965) and the title track from the posthumously released Living Space (Impulse!, 1998). Familiar themes are played straight—reverentially, even, at times. But that is where the homage stops. Having launched, the threesome makes no attempt to stay within the compositional confines, instead indulging in a flowering colloquy.

    Halperin plays with a sweet airy tone, only rarely pushing to the extremes of his horn. At times, the reedman’s singing lines recall Sonny Rollins rather than Trane, but the composer’s influence exerts its pull on “Living Space” and “Syeeda’s Song Flute,” particularly on the rubato upper register passages. As is his norm, although Duval provides a rhythmic substructure it is augmented by a stream of contrapuntal melody, against which the others push or follow as the moment dictates. In fact both the bassist and Willson—who delivers his polyrhythms with a light touch—allow sufficient freedom that the saxophonist is free to choose whatever direction he wishes.

    One of the highlights comes in “Naima,” where Duval and Halperin partake in inspired dialogue, the saxophonist’s rapid fire runs nimbly echoed by the bassist. Halperin’s cadenza of restrained but emotive multiphonic cries towards the end of “Moments Notice” also stick in the mind. Overall, the date has a relaxed feel, as if these pieces have been so well absorbed that they don’t need charts. And that’s perhaps the answer to the opening question: they play these tunes because they enjoy them, and their associations as starting points for their own invention.

  2. Après avoir célébré ensemble le répertoire de Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Halperin (saxophone ténor) et Dominic Duval (contrebasse) investissent en compagnie de Brian Willson (batterie) le répertoire de John Coltrane (johncoltrane).

    Avec une distance élégante, Halperin envisage d’abord Giant Steps sur le swing las décidé par ses partenaires : l’évocation est loyale, l’invention de Duval nette et l’implication de Willson mince. Pour faire prendre quelques « risques » au trio, Duval devra ainsi multiplier précipitations voire ruades : Moments Notice y gagne et Living Space en échange ses soucis de révérence contre une impétuosité bienvenue.

    A mi-parcours, constater un retour aux premiers démons : clins d’œil d’usage au thème, intensité aléatoire voire plate récitation de l’air (Naima). Honnête mais trop sage peut-être ; probe seulement.

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