Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Darryl Yokley's Sound Reformation The Void ARC 2012

Darryl Yokley happens to be one of those brilliant entertainers that reached out to me to give his latest release a test drive. To be perfectly honest, everything checks out perfectly with my only slight criticism being the cover art. I can't help it, I'm old school. I still remember going into the local brick and mortar store and being a new release for the cover art sometimes more so than the actually release itself. With The Void while one does get the contemporary cover art not to forget a stellar first call group of back up musicians including Duane Eubanks on trumpet and the fantastic Luques Curtis on bass.

Yokley would seem to be a cultural byproduct of his own making, contemporary in thought but with a burning love to play in a proper working band would almost seem to consume his very being. The great Rufus Reid once told me advance degrees are nice but the formal education that comes from burning up a bandstand can not be matched and Yokley does nothing but reinforce this very basic principle. "Mt. Fuji" dates back well over 25 years and if what little memory I have serves me correct I could still have the live Blue Note sessions Ralph Peterson Jr. was on when first recorded. The more cerebral and beautiful "Nubian Princess" draws inspiration from the Herbie Hancock classic "Dolphin Dance" while the ballad Pandora's Lullaby is proof positive of Yokley's impressive talents as both sublime instrumentalist and serious composer. Another highlight that plays right in Yokley's wheelhouse is the impressive "Voo Doo" originally written for sextet and inspired by the now iconic Wayne Shorter.

Yokley is a critics worst nigh mare as he sidesteps standard categorization with ease. Contemporary, straight ahead, Latin or even pop, Darryl Yokley's Sound Reformation has the uncanny ability mix make old school turn into new cool thus creating his own special hybrid of jazz that one would be wise to keep an eye on!

Tracks: Mt. Fuji; Jubilee; Nubian Princess; The Coming of Shiva; Waltz of the Infidels; Pandora's Lullaby; Voo Doo; Waters's Tune; The Void.

Personnel: Darryl Yokley: tenor and alto saxophines; Duane Eubanks: tumptet; George Burton: piano: Luques Curtis: bass; Wayne Smith: drums.