David Eyges

The Captain

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AllMusic Review by

This short debut album is also one of David Eyges' best, a result, perhaps in part, of the excitement generated in part by the rarity (at the time it was recorded) of a cutting-edge quartet led by a cellist. Of course, by the time this was reissued on CD 25 years after its initial release on LP, a cello-led quartet did not seem nearly so strange, yet the music stills stands on its own as a compelling and distinctive artistic venture. The piano-less quartet swings hard, with alto saxophonist Mark Whitecage giving one of the outstanding performances of his career. On "Inside a Dream," for example, the saxophonist speeds through the changes like a man possessed, before the tempo drops precipitously and Eyges waxes eloquently. On the following piece, "The Messenger," the two switch roles, with the cellist's frenetic pace yielding to the saxophonist's graceful tones. Throughout, changes abound, with the players taking full advantage of altered speed, volume, and dynamic rhythms. Eyges wrote all the pieces, and the influence of Ornette Coleman's classic works is an obvious though not overwhelming influence, with the pieces and their arrangements taking an original path. The presence of the under-recorded Ronnie Boykins is another plus, his pulsing beats adding immeasurably to the success of the venture. Throughout, though, it is the buoyancy of the sound, the unfettered fluidity, and the visceral excitement that win the day.

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