Purple Dark Opal by Kuzu; Bandcamp Link: Purple Dark Opal.
Kuzu is a trio comprised of Dave Rempis on alto/tenor/baritone saxophone; Tashi Dorji on guitar; and Tyler Damon on drums.
Purple Dark Opal is their new album. It was recorded live on October 14, 2018, at The Sugar Maple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Purple Dark Opal, the album, is a single 55 minute and 31 second track called, “To The Quick”. A bold choice for these attention deficient times.
A lot of improvising percussionists have jettisoned their traditional drum kits for large assortments of small, and large, percussion. Unlike those players, Damon is a capital “D” drummer, who plays a, more or less, traditional kit. He skitters and twitches across the skins and cymbals, seldom allowing what I perceive as the “beat” to drop below 200bpm.
I would describe Dorji’s guitar playing as textural. He doesn’t seem to use a large array of modern digital FX with his playing, it is a fairly dry tone, albeit with some distortion. However, he does often employ the non-traditional areas of sound generated by his guitar. Harmonics from the strings below the bridge, etc.
Of the three, Rempis is probably the most traditionally melodic player, though he, as well, is not afraid to explore the outer limits of his saxes’ sounds and his technique.
Though Purple Dark Opal is, no question, “energy jazz”, the players leave plenty of space in sections for quieter, or more sparse, explorations. Other times, one of another of the players will lay out, leaving the other two, or occasionally one, time to change the direction or velocity of the energy flow.
The fact that there are different moods over the duration of To The Quick, mean that there is always something new to listen to. While a single track doesn’t make it the most accessible album in the world for whatever is left of Jazz radio, I found the album to be very enjoyable on repeat for the entire week, picking up and leaving off wherever it aligned with my daily commute.
#kuzu #PurpleDarkOpal #DaveRempis #TashiDorji #TylerDamon