Dan Rose

The Water's Rising

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Veteran electric guitarist Rose, from N.Y.C., played in a progressive jazz combo with Paul Bley in the early '70s. He has a steely, sustained, rock-like tone, much harsher that contemporaries who treat their sound with gimmicks. But he's a flat out improviser, snake quick and skilled. To inspire him further, Rose has assembled an unstoppable backing trio of pianist Peter Madsen, bassist Peter Warren, and drummer Victor Lewis, truly the cream of the crop. They ensure the music is happening no matter what the tempo, mood, or complex head, on these original compositions by Rose. There are a few easily discernible paraphrases, for instance the stark theme, with rumbling mallets on drums during a no-time oriented "Teal Blue," borrows melody from Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman," "Vestiges" with Warren's haunting bowed bass solo intro, is quite reminiscent of "Born to Be Blue," and the 4/4 hard bop, off-kilter melodies of "When Your Door Is Ajar" and "What Happens Is Next" spot shadow angles of Coleman or Thelonious Monk. Madsen is particularly original, with free-flowing melodicism on the tick-tock two-beat beaut "Fountains," the ultra-quick samba with guitar-piano unison on the title track, and the hip boppin' "Splits." At this point in time, Madsen is ripping it up with the best of the now wave of McCoy Tyner inspired mainstream jazz improvising acoustic pianists. Rose gets his rock ya-yas out on "Scant Evidence," and the skunk funk-ish "It's No Mystery." The pace variations don't seem to faze Rose, he can play lightning-like runs and chords on the slower tunes as "Sometimes It's Real" as easy as the more frenetic ones. There's some heads-up, individualistic music making here, led by an unsung guitar hero who will hopefully get another opportunity to say what he feels needs to be said on his axe.

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