A basal structure of American roots music that morphs into a nuanced conversation recapturing the long lost art of melody. An improvisational collective with a rare harmonious synergy. Deric Dickens has struck gold.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Deric Dickens is as formidable arranger as he an instrumentalist. The Dickens Campaign is Deric Dickens (drums) Kirk Knuffke (Cornet) Jesse Lewis (Guitar) and while the instrumentation may seem oddly eclectic, for an exploration into the jazz-folk sub genre then you may be hard pressed to find a more deconstructed group to take a slightly adjusted lyrical road less traveled in search of melody and the subtle nuances texture of flavor that takes their musical inspiration from folklorist Alan Lomax. Jazz quietly turns to blues while folk reaches out and touches some country riffs thanks to the creative work of guitarist Jesse Lewis.
This is one of those stealth releases that flew under the radar of many as it was unfortunately released in October of 2013. Most labels, publicists and even critics have put up the "gone fishing" sign soon after labor day. Cornet virtuoso Kirk Knuffke turns in consistent and expressive performances throughout with "I Went Out For A Ramble" and his own composition "Poem" as his finest. There is a sophisticated simplicity with "Poem" that is haunting while spatially expansive in execution. Drummer Deric Dickens showcases his technique, versatility and ability to stay comfortably in the pocket yet adding the textured flair necessary to tie this trio together as one.
To refer to the aptly titled Oh Lovely Appearance as a work of indescribable beauty is a tad cliché, but I'll stick with it. To take compositions both known and unknown and have them fit a trio such as this without destroying the lyrical intent of the original is a thing of beauty.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!
Tracks: As I Went Out For A Ramble; Roustabout Holler; Poem; My Baby Likes To Sing; Oh Lovely Appearance of Death; I Should Have Known; Paul Motian; Hallelujah; Twice My Heavy; Waiting.
Personnel: Deric Dickens: Drums; Kirk Knuffke: Cornet; Jesse Lewis: Guitar