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Balance of Power by Paul Scea & Damon Short

BALANCE OF POWER, improvisations for reeds & percussion, by Paul Scea and Damon Short, released in 1999, has on it the potential for vibrant explorations. These pieces, I believe, are only sketches for some main events. I appreciate the imaginative nature of voice through reed instruments in several of the works. Vibe playng is also straight ahead. The dottedness of each piece, however, demonstrates the lack of tempo changes that one wants to hear from cut to cut. Both artists are trying to put a large variety of instrumentation together. But the variety of musical instruments does make up for the lack of variation in the structures and meters of the music. I don’t hear jazz here. I hear experimental music. Of course, what I just wrote could open up a large can of worms about what constitutes jazz music. One element that jazz does have for me is some sort of rhythm, recognizable rhythm, somewhere. On BALANCE OF POWER, I hear many phrases which stop and go no further than their phraseology. It is as if the artists are saying, "Well, this is interesting...let’s do this for four or five minutes..." What cuts save this CD are #6, #11 and #14. "Balance of Power", # 11, for tenor sax and drums is not a spontaneous composition. This work has rhythm, is thought out, and has a place to go through arpeggiations and stated drumwork. And cut #6 is the same way. It is also not spontaneous. It is a ballad for saxophone. The drums behind the sax give the musical surface some sort of depth. Cut #14, although too short, presents an improvised texture that is well placed for the conclusion of the CD. All in all, I would hope that Scea and Short keep going, but tend more towards improvising on compositions whose thread is visible. And, since I am not familiar with these musicians, it would be helpful to know who plays what.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Paul Scea & Damon Short
  • CD Title: Balance of Power
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Southport Records
  • Musicians: Paul Scea & Damon Short, reeds & percussion
  • Rating: Five Stars
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