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D.E.W. East/Nick Brignola: D.E.W. East Meets Nick Brignola

D.E.W East-the D stands for tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Alex Dean; E is for drummer Barry Elmes; W is for bassist Steve Wallace-cut three tracks in Ontario with Nick Brignola, and then added them to five tracks from an earlier trio session in Quebec to comprise the CD. But, guys, if Nick Brignola was available for the whole thing, you should have used him.

In all fairness, D.E.W. has a great sound: Dean is a strong, versatile soloist, and Wallace is everything a bassist should be, and then some, to compensate for the lack of a piano. Dean proves himself on every track, particularly on “Albert’s Song,” where he displays the beauty of a bass clarinet; the bass and brushes blend not only with his soloing but also with his comping counter line behind Wallace. And Wallace contributes eloquent solos on his original “Rhythm and Blues,” plus the jazz waltz “Three for Cappucine.”

On the three tracks allotted to Brignola, however, he adds so many ideas, so much musical personality, so much front-line heft that it’s shame he’s not there the whole time.

Originally Published