1. April in Gary
2. You Can't Say "Poem in Concrete"
3. I Am Looking for Strength
4. Night Tram
6. Hawk Over Traffic
7. Church Clothes w/ Wallet Chain
8. The Road Leads Home
CD Quality - 16 bit / 44.1 khz
Audacious. What else would you call it? The willingness to forgo the expected, to ignore the labels, to play music that is one hundred percent your own…
Drummer Dave King and the music he creates are very much audacious. He continues to laugh off expectations. In doing so, King has developed his own musical language and style. Combine jazz and rock? The avant-garde and country? Why try to box him in? It’s much more entertaining to let King roam.
Far from traveling solo, King has always collaborated with like-minded conspirators, including collectives The Bad Plus and Happy Apple, Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, Jeff Beck, and many other individuals and groups that have wryly smeared the palette of American music, creating sounds that are wholly original. King certainly plays with an eclectic bunch, but the groups that evolve are always focused while being entertaining and free-spirited. This brings us to his latest ensemble, The Dave King Trucking Company, and their new record, Good Old Light (Sunnyside, 2011).
The Trucking Company is King’s Americana group. More specifically, this is the drummer’s take on “if the great Nashville bands of the '60s and '70s could improvise and were Coltrane fanatics.” The legendary studio bands of Nashville are renowned for their incredible musicianship, tireless work ethic, and ability to play in any style requested. The thought of these roots musicians having a late-night jam session and blowing on “Crescent” isn’t too far-fetched, but King obviously has his own spin on things.
The group originally convened at the Walker Arts Center’s Dave King retrospective concert, King for Two Days, in the spring of 2010. In addition to King, the group includes guitarist Erik Fratzke, bass player Adam Linz, and saxophonists Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak. Fratzke is well-known for his collaboration in two other groups with King, Happy Apple and the Gang Font, and plays in a handful of other rock and jazz outfits. Speed is a veteran of the New York creative music scene, leading his own ensembles, owning his own record label, and playing in groups led by Tim Berne, John Hollenbeck, and Jim Black. Linz and Wozniak are two fabulous Minneapolis-based musicians who prove that excellent jazz performers exist outside of the Big Apple.
The CD begins with a quiet piano rumination played by King called “April in Gary,” showing the composer’s ability to grab a listener regardless of instrument. “You Can’t Say ‘Poem in Concrete’” is a bouncy, pop-ish tune featuring the two saxophonists playing against each other and culminating in a rousing solo by Wozniak. The declaratory “I Am Looking for Strength” has a direct melody reminiscent of gospel, a narrative solo by Speed, and a strong crescendo to glory.
“Night Tram” is a clattering, off-kilter shaker full of breaks and surprises including a bombastic solo by King. Fratzke’s somber guitar leads into “Payphones,” a mellow lament with a Western swing. “Hawk Over Traffic” charges in with grinding drums and tense bass as the saxophones and guitar soar overhead. Linz’s lovely bass playing is featured on “Church Clothes w/ Wallet Chain,” a slow introspective ballad. “The Road Leads Home” saunters in with quiet propulsion then suddenly picks up Speed as the group races to the finish.
The Dave King Trucking Company is a perfect example of King’s musical aesthetic of putting it all out there but being mindful of the tune. Good Old Light is about the songs but it is also about letting the musicians be individuals within them.
released July 12, 2011
Chris Speed - tenor sax
Brandon Wozniak - tenor sax
Erik Fratzke - electric guitar
Adam Linz - bass
Dave King - drums, piano
Mark Guiliana's drumming is both solid and yet flamboyant and exciting, on this album he leads an acoustic band who match his versatility and imagination. This album marks something of a departure from Guiliana's earlier projects, which have often seen him working with electronic sounds, whilst Guiliana appears here in a more traditional jazz setting his personality and unique touch on the kit is still very much in evidence. Stuart J Thomas