Bassist and composer/arranger Dominic Duval has a new CD called ANNIVERSARY released on the CIMP Label, The Spirit Room Series, Volume 103. I would not have expected this recording to be as tender and reverent as it is, given that I am accustomed to the often aggressive and impersonal attack on his instrument in solo performance contexts.
Duval has arranged and improvised on many standard melodies and included one of his own compositions for the body of the recording. His renditions of the standards demonstrate his stylistic approaches in bowing and plucking his bass, sometimes in the company of electronics that expand the sonorities of his techniques.
IMPROV CON ELECTO, whose title I interpret as being indicative of a total electronic take on his instrument, which it is, reverberates a continuous bowing that becomes white noise like the waves of the ocean hitting the sand, and then the space is opened up by a change in the curves of the electronics that create an all-encompassing atmosphere in which I can easily become lost. Duval’s SNOWFLAKE is the most assertive and brash of all the cuts. The sound texture is contrary to its title. IMPROV ON IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD twists the tune around admirably through the use of repetitious off-beat plucking and an occasional stroke of a dissonant note; every time the melody is recognizable, Duval turns it in another direction. Gratifyingly so.
Generally, the recording manifests a consistency that is inventive and with signature. Duval’s pitch bending, rhythmic attentiveness, pacing and creating deep tones, albeit with electronics, is notable. This solo work speaks well of his abilities.