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David Eyges

David Eyges

Jazz cellists have a tough time getting heard. They often get lost in the mix on a crowded bandstand, and their performance schedules are frequently hampered by a delicate, costly instrument that doesn’t travel well. Ten years ago, David Eyges, who emerged in the late ’70s leading a string of cutting edge recordings with such loft music luminaries as Ronnie Boykins, Byard Lancaster and Sunny Murray, solved the problem simply and boldly-he went electric, buying the first electric cello made by the Vermont-based T.F. Barrett Company.

Eyges’ recent activities confirm that it was a solid move, artistically. In addition to a well-received solo set at the recent Environ 20th anniversary celebration at the Knitting Factory, three discs featuring the Manhattan School of Music-trained classical music defector gained critical acclaim last year: Modern Chant (Music Masters), with pianist Paul Bley and drummer Bruce Ditmas; Synergy (In + Out), with altoist Arthur Blythe and Ditmas; and Night Leaves (Brownstone), a duet program with pianist Jaki Byard. What is particularly impressive about the recordings, collectively, is the varied colors Eyges elicits from the no-body instrument.

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