Ian Smith


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AllMusic Review by

Daybreak is a much more satisfactory CD than Smith's 1997 Tryst. Here listeners find him better surrounded and more confident. The album was recorded over two days and features the trumpeter in contexts varying from solo to full quintet with trombonist Gail Brand, tuba player Oren Marshall, guitarist Derek Bailey, and Veryan Weston wrestling with an antiquated chamber organ. This unlikely instrumentation works surprisingly well. The opening duet between the tuba and flügelhorn sets the tone: highly creative, slightly contemplative with a touch of humor. The brass trio "Falange, Falanginha, Falangeta" is simply something heard very rarely in freely improvised music. Bailey is heard in half of the 14 tracks, and his contribution always blends in perfectly. His duet with Smith, "Coffee," constitutes one of the disc's highlights. Weston is the only musician granted a solo spot -- a necessity to hear his chamber organ in all its dubious glory. He gets the best out of the instrument in "Windsurfing," his atonal chords establishing a gloomy atmosphere. Another quintet piece, "Don't Even Think About It," is also worth noting. Smith's preference for short focused improvisations works very well here. It gives the pieces more density and fits his own aesthetic, which now resides closer to the breath-born lowercase sound of Axel Dörner or Franz Hautzinger. This is his best release so far.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:59
2 3:46
3 4:17
4 5:38
5 5:26
6 4:58
7 4:05
8 6:59
9 6:18
10 4:23
11 4:09
12 4:21
13 8:51
14 4:01
15 4:01
blue highlight denotes track pick