Thursday, September 08, 2011

Dave King Trucking Company - NYC Jazz Record

Dave King Trucking Company - Good Old Light

Anybody familiar with Dave King’s day job as the
drummer for The Bad Plus knows that he doesn’t so
much play the drums as pummel them. For his first
album under the Dave King Trucking Company
moniker, one of nine bands he works with, King brings
his full spirit but in a quintet that grasps a range of
influences including everything from turtle-necked
chamber music to atmospheric Brit pop.

The album opens with King on a prepared piano,
reedy vibrations popping up from his meditative
exploration. The four-minute track provides an
ominous start to an otherwise vibrant record. The full
band comes in on the second track, “You Can’t Say
‘Poem in Concrete’”, with King providing a heavy
backbeat to guitarist Erik Fratzke’s rigid barre chords
before saxophonist Chris Speed unleashes his fiery
honk over a shifting montuno. The first inklings of
straightahead swing arrive midway through the album
courtesy of the only track King did not write - Fratzke’s
“Night Tram”. The track lurches into an eventual
blowing opportunity that highlights both King and
bassist Adam Linz’ inherent rhythmic compatibility.
The ten-minute long “Hawks over Traffic” finds the
band embracing their inner Mahavishnu Orchestra,
Fratzke as sharp and punchy as John McLaughlin,
until they begin unraveling the same unison riff for
nearly four minutes with aggressively spacious
repetition. The final track, “The Road Leads Home”,
returns to King’s taste for minimalist variations. His
instrumentation, which includes two tenor saxes and
two stringed instruments, allows him to phase riffs in
and out with subtle dissonance. Midway through the
song the band makes a right turn with churning funk
from Fratzke and the bell of King’s cymbal hedging
close to all out rock ‘n’ roll before abruptly stopping.

Good Old Light is an interesting album from a very
busy man that leans as much on rock as it does on jazz.
King’s talents as a composer and arranger are engaging,
with his painstaking use of space and bombast
scattered everywhere. Worthwhile listening, if you are
ready for it.

Dave King Trucking Company @ NYC Jazz Record

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