October 1998

Steve Doyle
Presence
Axis

Doyle was a semi-finalist in the 1997 Thelonious Monk bass competition. A teacher at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, he offers firm support and well-rounded solos on this quartet date with tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Dave Stryker, and drummer Tony Moreno.

The opening tune, Doyle's multithematic "3rd Wave," suggests Weather Report, one of the groups that introduced him to jazz. His "Nebraska" (his home state) has an open jazz/country feeling. Ornette Coleman's "Una Muy Bonita" takes the group progressively outside. Then there is Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss," a bass solo full of double stops, woody-toned percusiveness, high/low melodic alternations, and take-your-time pacing. The players approach "How Deep Is the Ocean" obliquely yet swinging solidly. This gives you an idea of the scope of this album.

Potter plays with his customary finesse, making the altissimo register of his tenor a natural part of his melodic range and not a freak show. Stryker, who reminds you of Pat Metheny a bit, plays with a pleasing unpredictability. Moreno proves an adaptable partner, espcially in his thrashing accompaniment on the Coleman tune.

Originally published in October 1998
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