Thursday, October 18, 2012

Louis Durra Rocket Science Lot 50 2012

Louis Durra would have to be the exception to most rules, harmonic and otherwise. There is the old quote which is still incorrectly attributed to Duke Ellington when in fact it was Martin Mull that said, "Describing music is like dancing with architecture" this apt metaphor fits Louis Durra's Rocket Science like a glove.

A personalized yet revolutionary approach to cherry picking some pop standards and doing some of the most inventive reharms one could imagine. With Rocket Science the natural evolution of the trio's talents seems to come full circle. Sounds like? McCoy Tyner and a bag of skittles. Technically proficient but with a rainbow of flavor. To attempt a cover of the Bob Marley classic "One Love" while adventurous could be the musical equivalent of tap dancing in a minefield. Durra and friends pull this reggae classic off with a whimsy that breathes fresh life into what could be otherwise considered a tired standard by many. What I like to refer to as the deceptively subtle swing of the walking bass line of "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" along with the funkalicious infusion of soul with Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City" shows immeasurable growth not just from Durra but the entire trio. The groove laid down by drummer Jerry Kalaf acts as a sort of musical adhesive bringing all voices together throughout this release. While most disc jockey's including myself could leave this earth happy people never having to hear another Lennon/McCartney tune, Durra turns "Back In The USSR" into a blues infused gem that is rich in character with a harmonic richness that even the original lacked. The trio does play fast and loose with changing meter and altering the dynamics of the majority of this twelve tune sonic smorgasbord with perhaps the finest tune being the Durra original Nine Eleven. A quiet, introspective almost wistful ballad that could be the corner stone for an entire release of similar tunes, Nine Eleven shows off the formidable skills of Durra as a composer/arranger as well as any of the pop standards mentioned previously. Jazz piano will never be looked at the same after hearing Louis Durra and that is a beautiful thing.  Now I find myself rethinking my best of 2012 list - AGAIN.

Louis Durra is a musical visionary. Durra has the uncanny ability to hear harmonic colors in the most unique settings and arrange these ideas into a rich and fulfilling balance among his trio members. The musical synergy on Rocket Science is simply out of this world!

Tracks: The Hardest Button To Button; One Love; Black Horse And The Cherry Tree; Home; El Mango; Nine Eleven; According To You; Living For The City; Back In The USSR; Un Canadien Errant; In My Life; La Puerta Negra.


A taste of the last Louis Durra release via You Tube:



Personnel: Louis Durra: piano; Jerry Kalaf: drums; Ryan McGillicuddy: bass; Larry Steen: bass (1,7).