I must admit that in the past week, I have fought every temptation to reduce this review of David Kane’s splendid album, Machinery of The Night to three mere words: JUST BUY IT!
But that would completely nullify my agreement with Mr. Blackwell [Editor-in-chief of this prestigious trust] to write thoughtful, objective and relevant reviews of each artist I submit. To further complicate weighty matters of obvious ‘reviewer bias’ is the tendency toward brevity, because the preconceived pointlessness of writing this review overrides any necessity for describing the perfect jazz album! Herein lies my arduous dilemma....
Master Pianist David Kane has presented his fourth outstanding album. Like its predecessors, Machinery of The Night is a remarkable collection of incredible material featuring the startling talents of the legendary brilliant saxophonist Dave Liebman, spacious bassist Drew Gress and impeccable drummer, Tony Martucci.
The music hits you square in the teeth from note one. This is jazz filled with brazen cockiness. If this were a rap album, it would be hardcore hip-hop; if it were Rock & Roll, these guys would be the Rolling Stones! Each player knows exactly what to do, when, where and how. Their sensitivity and prowess belays the ‘why’ as Kane’s writing and arrangements are crisp, provocative and electric. Even the individual song titles affirm how deep in you are.... and that you didn’t wade in, you were dropped right into the middle!
"Fluffy Buys The Farm" begins like a beguiling serpent ready to strike as Kane and Liebman ruddle an unsuspectingly contagious melody into a slippery groove carried along by Gress’ swinging bass which slides very carefully into his own solo and out again through that amazing melody! Liebman’s soprano soars and sings with irony and finesse as Kane taunts him from behind. A most captivating way to begin our journey!
"Other Roads" is a luxurious tale of freedom as told by one piano who asks for assistance at a fork in the road where bass and drum meet to point the way to a sanctuary of wonder. It is here where you realize you’re in the presence of a remarkable pianist. You think you hear strains of Corea, Jarrett & Hancock and to be fair, their influence is noticeable, but this is the sincere voice of one David Kane beckoning with clarity. Martucci’s drumming is extremely sensitive and faint enough to sedate you while Gress takes another captivating solo.
Re-enter Liebman with billowing soprano on "Smilestone" and try not to pat your foot, or bob your head - just once. You lose! The elegance and swing the band constructs is vibrant and alive, underscored by the swagger of Kane’s rockin piano."Deus Ex Machina" is a Latin phrase that is used to describe an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot. [Wikipedia]
It’s also my favorite track out of the eight. It’s quite difficult to describe how the ‘all-too-familiar’ melody transcends conversancy and whisks you into uncharted territory. The trio of Kane, Gress & Martucci gently lead us over and through this kaleidoscopic sonata until we understand our need to remain here.... and we reach for the repeat button, again.
Title track "Machinery of The Night", perhaps plucked from the Allen Ginsberg poem "Howl" or the Custom Computer & Software Company who assumed the domain name; this song is my second fave. These guys have clearly left the planet and are all in favor of seducing each of us to join them in spite of the fact that they’ve not landed anywhere and don’t plan to. It’s the essence of immunity tied to the kite strings of Gress’ elastic bass. Liebman holds down the main line with support from Kane and this time it’s Martucci’s turn to dance. His unique rhythms are sparse, yet concentrated and he massages every break down with expert precision. Liebman is wailing away on tenor now and uses every ounce of emotion to stretch, scream, spit and strut across Kane’s stratosphere with his signature classic pomp we all know and love.
"Moving Pictures" is a ballad of extreme proportions. The tune showcases the depths of David Kane’s genius. Generous, Challenging, Genteel; his passion for modest, albeit addictive melodic passages submerged in deep chordal structures is never disappointing. You are completely locked in, barely noticing the occasional suggestions Gress & Martucci offer as the thoughtful pianist explores his soul and yours.
The soothing caress and gentle sway of "Silver Lining" reacquaints us with the familiar warmth of Dave Liebman’s faithful tenor. We have considered his artistry for years and he’s always new, always patient, yet always willing to make us reconsider. Excellence!
I had never heard of Drew Gress before this album and now find myself hanging on to his every note anticipating another delightful solo. There it is! Tony Martucci carefully explains why he is one of the most in demand jazz drummers in the DC area. Whether on tender brushes or nimble sticks as displayed here, he’s meticulous. You never get a second chance with him, you gotta move!
This album ends in solace with the precious "Benediction," the only completely solo piano piece co-written by David and a close personal friend of his, the late Pam Bricker. It is played with a sanative hopefulness to both purge and inspire. The purest way one can bid a farewell.
What’s curious about this album is how quickly it’s over. Registering in at just under an hour, you’re compelled, as if by default to hit ‘play’ again. The sequence of the songs is excellent. The recording and production is superb and to stop myself from calling this a ‘flawless’ album, I did notice the striking of two notes :37 seconds into the beginning of "Moving Pictures" which I think may be a mistake, but my eldest daughter would accuse me of ‘nitpicking’ - but I feel I must say something to put a grounding to this masterpiece!
Therefore, I trust that your next action will be to log onto David Kane’s site to find out more about his artistry and then to order this magnificent offering. I cannot imagine any serious collector without this piece in his or her trophy case. I highly recommend this album.
Dave Lieberman - http://upbeat.com/lieb/
Drew Gress - http://www.drewgress.com/drew.htmlTony Martucci -http://www.dcjazz.com/tonymartucci/