Denny Zeitlin & George Marsh – Expedition – Sunnyside Records

by | Jul 27, 2017 | Jazz CD Reviews

Denny Zeitlin & George Marsh – Expedition – Sunnyside Records SSC1487 75:07****:

If approached with an open mind, the ingredients of sound make sense

( Denny Zeitlin –  acoustic piano/hardware & virtual synthesizers/keyboards; George Marsh – drums & percussion)

Denny Zeitlin has never been reluctant to practice his craft outside the nine dots. At the time of his first release entitled Cathexis in 1964, his piano playing was characterized as a hard bop, but  Zeitlin did not let this define him. He believed there were yet uncharted avenues to be explored and he set out to search for them. Over the intervening years, Zeitlin has flirted with such things as the prepared piano and electronic keyboards, and while he continues to record and perform on a standard acoustic piano, electro-acoustic interpretations of musical themes have become more prominent in his repetoire. Expedition is a further exploration of this genre that he and George Marsh recorded and released  in 2015 under the title Riding The Moment.

Denny Zeitlin explains in the liner notes to Expedition,  that the music is based on spontaneous free improvisation, and for the most part is recorded in real time. The two principals are separated in the studio, unable to see each other, and thus depend on a form of symbiotic osmosis to deliver the results. As to the structure of the music, the listener should disabuse themselves of the architectural axiom form follows function. Time signatures may or may not be present, as there is a flow to the pieces that seems to be internally generated.

Given the freedom that the music stimulates between the duo, the compositions names may or may not have any relationship to the end result. The listener may choose to ascribe whatever sentiment or thoughts that might emerge from the gushing “Geysers” or the emotional“The Hunt”.  There are a couple of tracks that move along smartly such as “Shooting The Rapids” to which anyone who has done so understands the potential for heart palpitations. “Sentinel” also conjures up dynamic force.

Finally the title track “Expedition” brings together all the elements to which these two musicians have been striving, and for which their improvisational talents have come full circle. The listener must be prepared to approach this music with an open mind, and if so the ingredients  of sound will make sense.

Thorns Of Life
Shards Of Blue
Lives Of Clowns
Spiral Nebula
Shooting The Rapids
One Song
The Sentinel
Watch Where You Step
Not Lost In The Shuffle
The Hunt

—Pierre Giroux

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