The Donavan/Muradian Quintet, co-lead by drummer Jeff Donavan and bassist Larry Muradian, has been garnering a great deal of positive attention throughout Southern California. In 2004, the group was voted Best Mainstream Band at the Long beach Jazz Festival. On DMQ Live, the no-nonsense straight-ahead ensemble, also consisting of trumpeter Kye Palmer, saxophonist Chuck Manning and pianist Curtis Brengle, performs a vigorous set of standards and jazz classics.
Right from the get-go, one gets the sense that these guys are on a mission to swing as hard as possible. From the boisterous introduction of Wayne Shorter’s "Black Nile," to the up-tempo blues workout on John Coltrane’s "Locomotion," the group’s energy is unrelenting. Stand-out tracks include the seldom-performed Wayne Shorter waltz "Edda" and a blistering take on the Jule Styne classic "It’s You Or No One."
Palmer and Manning are a top-notch front-line, blending intuitively with a dynamic sense of give-and-take. Both are strong improvisers, proficient in the hard-bop tradition. Brengle comps skillfully throughout and solos with the grace of past piano giants like Wynton Kelly and Sonny Clark.
Donovan and Muradian play an unassuming role on the disc, supporting tirelessly and inspiring the best out of the soloists. DMQ Live is a satisfying collection that will appeal to fans of classic jazz.