Lucid Culture


A Hard-Swinging New Chordless Album From Saxophonist David Detweiler

Tenor saxophonist David Detweiler’s previous album New York Stories was an unpredictable, colorful, cosmopolitan collection…a vivid reflection of what this city used to be was before the lockdown. His long-awaited new album The Astoria Suite – streaming at Spotify – is more stripped-down. a real change of pace. Much of this is a chordless trio record, a serious showcase for Detweiler’s creative tunesmithing and slightly smoky-tone. What does all this have to do with a celebrated Queens neighborhood which until March of last year was flourishing with tavernas and a long-entrenched Greek population?

It’s a pretty much relentlessly bustling, upbeat record, which might explain a lot. It opens with Blues For H and A, a brisk swing tune built around a cheery, dancing riff that Detweiler shifts further and further outside as bassist Mikailo Kasha walks the scales and drummer Leon Anderson adds subtle accents on his snare.

Trombonist Kevin Jones joins the group and contributes the album’s second number, Jonesy, with more of a spring-loaded swing and a bluesiness that’s much more allusive. Detweiler keeps the frenetic pace going with Lookout, running eights, choosing his spots as Anderson adds more color and splash along with a flurrying, tightly contained solo.

The three kick off track four, Route, with a wry “let’s go” riff, Anderson building a tongue-in-cheek conspiratorial solo: it’s here that Detweiler starts to echo the uneasy modalities of JD Allen. Jones returns for another one of his tunes, Singularity, working gruffly through the highs, the bandleader adding a more lowdown solo over a fast swing.

Song For Julie, the album’s lone ballad, is ironically the album’s showstopper, Detweiler and then Kasha taking plaintive, spare solos, the bandleader then working enigmatically up to a decisive victory. The group pick up the pace with a modal bite and hint of a circling qawwali beat in Twilight: it may not be dark yet, but this party is already going strong. They close with the album’s catchiest number, Under the Dome, evoking minor-key Coltrane without ripping him off.


February 1, 2021 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment