Armen Donelian

Quartet Language

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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

This high-powered and colorful live set was recorded at New York's Visiones in 1992 but not released for the first time until 11 years later. Pianist Armen Donelian contributed all five selections, and he is heard leading a high-quality post-bop trio that is joined by the explosive alto playing of Thomas Chapin. Chapin, who prematurely died six years later at age 40 from leukemia, consistently steals the show. He sounds a lot like Eric Dolphy on "Jabberwackey" and is full of fire on each selection, bubbling over with intensity while still often playing within the chord changes. The relatively conservative setting for Chapin makes this a fairly accessible outing and an excellent example of his playing in modern mainstream jazz. Donelian's songs are excellent, particularly "Jabberwackey" (which alternates between 7/4 and 4/4 time), the bolero "Mexico," and the passionate jazz waltz "Loose as a Goose," and the interplay by the trio is stimulating and subtle. All of the performances are at least ten minutes long, yet this set moves by quickly. It is well worth several listens.

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