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Inner Journey by Kevin Dorsey

This is yet another example of the kind of music being produced throughout the country by artists who are relatively unknown on the national level, and who have to produce and distribute their own recordings. Bassist Kevin Dorsey teaches music at a magnet school in Syracuse, New York, and a community college up the road in Cayuga. He also plays bass in a variety of jazz and Latin groups in the Central New York area. The Collective is his personal project, reflecting his own musical interests, a mixture of jazz, folk and world music, and, a major influence, the group Oregon. He has gathered three like-minded individuals, Pomares, himself a schoolteacher, Piorun, a private guitar teacher and local bandleader, and Bower, a veteran performer in a wide range of genres. Getting this recording done required investing their own, or Dorsey's own, money, and had to be done with virtually no rehearsal. Never having even played together before the date, each track was pulled together and recorded in 2 or 3 takes. Now it is being distributed through the only available channels, at gigs, through the InterNet, maybe at CD Baby. It's a hard row to hoe, but there are countless musicians doing the exact same thing and they deserve our support.

The set that Dorsey and his cohorts have produced has a low-key feel, emphasizing Bower on hand percussion rather than drum set, and tempos that are on the slow side. This is music that creeps up on you rather than overwhelming with speed and technique. The program is nicely balanced, the selections unfolding in the manner of a suite, shifting between subtly different rhythmic feelings and tonal colors, reflecting Dorsey's interest in World music and folk elements.

The set opens with Bower playing what sounds like ghatam, leading into Xander's Dance in a 6/8 feel with Pomares on soprano, followed by Call and Response in a true waltz time with the saxophonist shifting to tenor and Bower laying out. Evening Awaits features Piorin's guitar in ballad mode, Miss an 8/8 feel with both tenor and soprano, while Las Olas Del Mar is a gentle Bossa Nova with bass clarinet and acoustic guitar. Remembrance puts Pomares out front on tenor saxophone, opening with a cadenza before moving into an improvisation over slow-moving chords. After such exotica, Wednesday Nite emerges like a breath of fresh air with a simple swing feel, featuring Piorin's electric guitar dubbed over his acoustic instrument, again minus percussion. The set ends with Inner Journey a kind of Maiden Voyage-like vamp over which all the soloists have a chance to shine.

Many artists take two or three albums to find their true voice. Dorsey is already planning a second recording that more effectively exploits the group member's multi-instrumental talents, as well as more African and other World music rhythms. This promises to be interesting. Even more interesting would be a third album if he manages to integrate this approach with the more low-key ambiance exhibited here. If, like me, you would like to find out if he can bring that off you had better support the effort and buy a copy of Inner Journey.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Kevin Dorsey
  • CD Title: Inner Journey
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: Xanders Dance Call and Response Evening Awaits Miss Las Olas del Mar Remembrance Wednesday Nite Inner Journey'
  • Musicians: Kevin Dorsey (double-bass and electric bass guitar), Bob Piorun (classical and electric guitars), Bill Pomares (tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet), Jerry Bower (udu drums, congas, shakers, cajon, cymbals);
  • Rating: Three Stars
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