New York Times: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 28, 2009

Nate Chinen reviews alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones’ debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) featuring Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bow) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums), in today’s New York Times.

“Darius Jones has the capacity for a proud, rafters-raising tone on alto saxophone,” he writes, “and as an improviser he’s fearless but disciplined. He’s fond of the sustained, piercing cry, often pinching his intonation for dramatic effect. And rhythmically he rolls in waves, an approach that brilliantly complements Mr. Moses, whose contribution throughout this album is masterly. Together with the adaptability of Cooper-Moore—who plays piano as well as diddley bow, a single-stringed instrument of African origin and Southern blues connotation—it adds up to a powerfully soulful blend.”

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Boston Phoenix: The Year In Jazz

December 23, 2009

The Boston Phoenix‘s resident jazz aficionado Jon Garelick reflects on his 10 favorite moments of the year in this week’s issue.

Two of those moments are related to Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music) and the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity).

“Call what Garrison Fewell does composition or simply strategies for improvisation,” Garelick writes. “Whatever, the guitarist formerly known as one of Boston’s most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters. On this year’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Fewell gathered some superb improvisers—among them frequent guitar-duo partner (and CNM honcho) Eric Hofbauer, New York trumpeter Roy Campbell, and Italian bass-clarinettist Achille Succi—and they, following his spare instructions and often graphic scores, created a suite of ‘variable density’ and unforced lyricism, all with compositional integrity.”

“Alto-saxophonist Jones, 31, now lives in Brooklyn (natch),” Garelick continues, “but he hails from rural Virginia, and he likes churchy old blues, boogie-woogie, and the kind of folkish tunes that Albert Ayler used to write. On Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), his music sounds older than old—ancient, in fact—but also completely up to the minute. Working with Boston drummer Bob Moses and New Yorker Cooper-Moore (who plays piano and his homemade diddley bow), Jones delivers forceful melodies with a just-discovered freshness. The trio’s show at Outpost 186 in October was a standout.”


Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy One Of The Boston Globe’s Top 10 Jazz Albums For 2009

December 21, 2009

The Boston Globe‘s Living Editor, and resident jazz reviewer, Steve Greenlee chose the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) as one of his Top 10 Jazz Albums for 2009 in Sunday’s paper.

“The young saxophonist plays both raucously and sweetly,” Greenlee noted, “and he puts every genre at his disposal, from blues to swing to free improvisation.”


The Wire: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 16, 2009

Philip Clark reviews alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ acclaimed debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) on AUM Fidelity, featuring Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums), in the January 2010 issue of The Wire.

“His sound evokes Albert Ayler’s cry-point vibrato,” Clark writes, “but Virginia-born alto saxophonist Darius Jones is no idle clone—with expressive glissandi as opulently sensual as that of Johnny Hodges, and a knack for flipping innocent melodic utterances into lines fraught with chancy harmonic and rhythmic ambiguities, Jones’s concept is proudly his own. This record poses big questions about the relationship between the African-American tradition of spirituals, blues and gospel, and now.”


Signal To Noise: Taylor Ho Bynum, Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, Darius Jones and Joe Morris

December 14, 2009

The Winter 2010 issue of Signal To Noise arrived this weekend and with it reviews of the latest releases from Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings, the Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, the Darius Jones Trio and the Joe Morris Quartet.

“Bynum’s compositions consistently engage and amplify the texts [from his sister’s novel, Madeleine is Sleeping],” writes Stuart Broomer in his review of Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), “and the performances are at a high level. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura ranges from pensive dramatic readings to jazz-inflected vocals and creative improvisations, performing admirably in the divergent settings. The group’s improvisational skills come to the fore on pieces by three great composers—Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra—whose works are all subtly complementary…the results are driving, focused, expressive performances that make the most of the jazz tradition.”

“After 20 years of musical partnership, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, drummer Harvey Sorgen and trumpeter Herb Robertson have developed a rich chemistry,” declares James Hale. “On Memphis, their 11th recording, the quartet surges with energy—equal parts Stevens’ proclivity for aggresive vamps, Robertson’s slippery slalom runs, and a wrecking crew of a rhythm duo. When the mood turns somber individual members find ways of keeping the tension high, whether its Fonda’s abrasive arco on ‘For My Brother’ or the free segments that alternate with Stevens’ pretty theme on ‘Whale Majesty.'”

“Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza hammer away at eight slices of groove-based music that is is peppy, incisive and yes, amusing,” explains Jay Collins in his review of Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity). “The Fully Celebrated is a group that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but the music is of high caliber and a hell of a lot of fun.”

Marc Medwin describes the Darius Jones Trio’s debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), as “a barn-burner from note one. Jones could not have chosen better musicians to enter into his world, with Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses enhancing every moan, cry and shriek emanating from his alto.”

Jay Collins calls the Joe Morris Quartet’s second release, Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), “Morris at his most accessible. His tremendous single-note flurries come to bear immediately on the boppish ‘Backbone’ and the exuberantly swinging ‘Imaginary Solutions.’ The quartet’s keen melodic sense is eveident on ‘Ashes’ and the ruminative ‘Animal,’ especially in Hobbs’s earthy, gripping saxophone playing. Hobbs and Morris’s unison lines against the rhythm section’s restless activity are part of the record’s pleasures. Like Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, Today on Earth has it all: smart compositional structures that launch tasty, unpredictable improvisations.”


AllAboutJazz.com: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 10, 2009

John Sharpe’s review of alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones’ debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) on AUM Fidelity, was posted yesterday at AllAboutJazz.com.

The record, which Jones’ calls “a sonic tone poem about me and my life growing up in the South,” also features the eminent master musicians Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums).

Sharpe called it “one of the strongest offerings of the year” and added, “Jones has a talent for penning intensely emotional themes, which provide a fertile launching pad for his vibrato-laden alto preaching…it is the valedictory, elegiac ‘Forgive Me’ which marks the highlight of the album…it sounds like a newly found spiritual, with some of most beautiful sounds ever committed to disc.”


Darius Jones Trio At Firehouse 12 Tonight

November 20, 2009

Tonight, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 presents a two-set celebration of New York-based alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ long-awaited debut CD, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity).

Described by Jones as “a sonic tone poem about me and my life growing up in the South,” the record draws on such early influences as his Jamaican father’s love of reggae, the revelatory vocal music of the church and countless hours of listening to everything from classical to rock on the radio.

Heralded as “a new voice poised to receive widespread acclaim” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), Jones brings this diverse and passionate music to life with his mentors, the eminent master musicians Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums).

“On Man’ish Boy,” writes PointofDeparture.org’s Ed Hazell, “alto saxophonist Darius Jones delivers one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory, displaying a remarkably well-developed concept and individual sound. Jones has a big, fleshy, lived-in tone, with a vibrato that owes as much to Johnny Hodges as it does to Albert Ayler. It’s defiant, vulnerable, proud, and weary; there is laughter and sobbing in it.”

Jason Crane, host of The Jazz Session and columnist at PopDose.com, adds, “For his debut statement, 31-year-old Jones wanted to tell his story. To talk about what it means to be poor and black and struggling and intelligent in this day and age. Jones has fit all that and more into an incredible recording that will make you sing, make you weep and make you marvel.”