Thursday, December 19, 2013
ELTON DEAN – QED (2000)
Label: Blueprint (Voiceprint) – BP339CD
Format: CD, Album Country: UK - Released: 2000
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 7 recorded 20.01.00 at Eddie Mander's studio in Stoke Newington, London
Tracks 3, 5, 6 recorded 17/18/21.01.00 at the Red Rose Club, as part of the 'Wireless' Festival
Artwork by – John Gardiner (Abstract Flight')
Design by – L-Space Design
Mastered by – Dave Bernez
QED features saxophonist Elton Dean in various contexts, from a duet with bassist Paul Rogers to trios, quartets, and a quintet with Jim Dvorak (trumpet), Nick Evans (trombone), Rogers, and Mark Sanders (drums). Other players include Alex Maguire (Hammond organ and piano), Tony Bianco (drums), Paul Dunmall (tenor sax), Simon Picard (tenor sax), and Robert Bellatalla (bass). The seven improvisations were recorded during one studio session and three live dates, all in January 2000. Even though collaborators and configurations change from one track to the next, this set forms a more cohesive (and interesting) whole than Moorsong, another Dean hodgepodge released around the same time on Cuneiform. These are all free improvisations with jazz roots. Highlights include the opening and closing numbers, two energy-filled trios with Maguire and Bianco on which Dean also plays electric piano (a wink to his Soft Machine days?). Bianco's Rashied Ali-inspired drumming and Maguire's funky Hammond playing turn these two tunes into exciting free-form fusion numbers. The horribly titled "Sax.com" is a nice sax quartet with Dean, Dunmall, Picard, and Jason Yarde. It makes a great contrast with "Sheepdogs," the aforementioned duet, where Dean reminds us how soulful his playing can be. The longest track is the quintet improv, "Deep Crease," the most textural of all. QED is a healthy dose of Elton Dean and a release his fans will not want to pass on.
_ by François COUTURE
Elton Dean’s recent associations with Hammond organ specialist Alex Maguire (as heard on HUX’s excellent release Psychic Warrior) have been gradually building over time. QED is one of the first recording dates with Maguire and drummer Tony Bianco that capture a return of sorts to the inspired signpost of Dean’s Soft Machine days. This trio gets two cuts on the recording: the first song, “ Hammond X ” is informed by the ghost of Tony Williams Lifetime as Dean spends time on Fender Rhodes against Maguire’s pensive but effective tones. The trio’s other piece ends the disc, “ New Roads ” which is perhaps a bit more into Brian Auger territory but the trio are playing at breakneck speed to end the recording on a substantial high note. Maguire is retained on piano for two freer excursions with Roberto Bellatalla and Mark Sanders handling the rhythm duties. Their first performance, “ Quartered, ” is a loosely structured piece with Maguire comping against Sander ’ s loose tempo and Bellatalla’s adept anchoring. The latter piece, “ Altored Saint, ” is a saner improvisation with Dean and Maguire introducing an intuitive dialog before the upright bass enters with a few careful brush strokes on the snare. On “ Sax.com ” Dean is joined by three fellow sax men (Paul Dunmall, Simon Picard and Jason Yarde) for a somber English take on San Francisco’s Rova sax quartet. Jim Dvorak and Nick Evans join Dean and Sanders on the longest improv, “ Deep Crease, ” which is the definitive performance on the disc. In summary Dean has rarely delivered anything but high quality collaborations between various configurations across the years.
_ By JEFF MELTON, Published 2005-09-01
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