Dave King

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Indelicate Review

by Michael G. Nastos

People may very well raise questions as to Dave King's legitimacy in making creative music while overdubbing on his familiar drum kit...and mainly piano. Admittedly doing this project that he's always wanted to produce "for better or worse," King goes at it on a spontaneous level that reflects a childlike sensibility and a certain naïveté that in many ways is charming, or dangerously teetering on the edge of melodrama. With no other helpmates, King navigates through a set of spontaneous originals segued seamlessly that bears little resemblance to rock music, his work with the Bad Plus, or any parallels to his bandmate Ethan Iverson. Either his influences (perhaps Muhal Richard Abrams?) are transcended or he's playing down to them and adding complete farcical whimsy to the proceedings, but at the bottom line the music is so nebulous that it's hard to tell for sure. Is he playing, or playing with the piano? At times he sounds like a petulant child, rambling in idiot savant mentality, stomping about during "The Werewolf and the Silver Bullet," though you also might hear a quote of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Within the angularity of Thelonious Monk, King evokes wonderful images in "Bees"; goes dour and free on the short pouting "The Shell"; is pensive and brooding during "I See You, You See Me"; and is bouncy and uplifted for "I Want to Feel Good," replete with happy handclapping. Whether he is competent or ignorant, you can't deny that King has some chops to burn on the jagged repeat-note phrases of the maddening and annoying "Arts High Boogie" and the diffuse repeat chords that identify "The Black Dial Tone of Night" in murky shadows. At times King introduces distorted electronics to the mix on the three-layered "Homage: Young People," while his dramatic piano during the title selection sports a plodding beat on a perfectly named piece that is both fascinating and futile. Bottom line: Dave King is incapable of sitting still, nervous to a degree, ultimately curious, but sounding more like he is practicing -- a good thing for a doctor or a musician. Indelicate is a curious album, where the listener has the final say...bad, good, plus, or minus.

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