Saturday 28 August 2010

Dave Stone - Solo

Born in 1971, Dave Stone grew up as a multi instrumentalist but as an improviser has specialized in reeds, sharing experiences with several central figures of the St. Louis jazz scene (all of them quite mysterious to the author, who doesn’t miss a chance to prove his enduring lack of knowledge despite four abundant decades of swallowed recordings). In the fourteen episodes of Solo (2008) the protagonist showcases irrefutable talent and innate musicality through an array of saxophones and clarinets, occasionally naming the pieces with incomprehensible words (“Dundtor”, “Ackakaplakakpla”, “Belelelell”) that I instantly fell in love with. If you manage to last the whole of the album’s duration – not easy for a ham-fisted listener at over 68 minutes – the repayment comes under the shape of serious virtuosity characterized by legitimate intelligence. Stone chooses the right technique to explore every time, knows the value of silence and space between clean notes, convulsive spurts and unkind upper partials, unafraid of showing that he can play the damn instruments, not hiding behind pensive postures and false humility (the latter “qualities” always useful for getting profiles on major magazines). In some of the improvisations we were tempted to associate the playing to certain pages from Anthony Braxton’s book, but this may just be a silly flight of the imagination. The core of the matter is that this is great self-propelling music requiring patience and attention, exposing the artistic sheen of a man who wants people to really understand what he means, translating intentions into a rewarding physicality distinguished by a near-flawless command of the instrumental dynamics. (Freedonia)