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Gebbia, Gianni; Smith, Damon; and Powell, Garth – “People In Motion” – [Rastascan Records]

Naysayer   2/25/2015   CD, Jazz

“People in Motion”, the 1999 release from Gianni Gebbia (alto saxophone), Damon Smith (contra bass) and Garth Powell (percussion) is ten pieces of improvisation which covers a spectrum of sound. This is not just onslaught improvisation. This is improvisation with subtlety and breathing room as well as larger groupings of sounds. The players obviously respect each other’s playing and intuition for each is given the time and space to experiment and explore with their musical ideas. Some parts of the pieces are downright harsh but others are thought provoking and humorous. Not that harsh is never thought provoking. It is simply the mix which makes the project more enjoyable. Seriousness and humor are shown right up front with the front and back cover art. This prepares us for the opposites that will be within the music. Track 1, “All Across the Nation” starts out with mallard calls and reed blowing sounding like duck calls. An interesting way to catch our attention. By track three, “A New Explanation”, the trio is playing over and around a recording of a gamelan orchestra. The following tracks are interplays with the three musicians, sometimes falling into straight ahead jazz soundtracks (for moments) and then exploding into a more free form experience. All tracks are worthy of our listening attention.

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