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David Kane : Machinery of the Night

The single best thing about Machinery of the Night is bassist Drew Gress. His exceptional core skills of time and tone and harmonic command allow him the freedom to make continuously ingenious note choices. He inserts his marks all over this recording in unexpected places. His patterns make the music of pianist David Kane move in surges and graceful waves, and create a context of intelligence. Gress’ solos are the most intricate, suggestive statements on the album.

David Liebman is always an interesting soloist. Kane’s eight original pieces are intended to alternate between “dark intensity” and “lyrical impressionism,” and Liebman’s assigned role is to provide the darkness on four tracks. On “Fluffy Buys the Farm” and “Smilestone,” Liebman plays mildly dissonant, discomfited lines on soprano saxophone, often doubled with piano or bass. His two tenor saxophone pieces also keep him in a vertiginous, falling-over-the-edge mode, suggesting the “dark intensity” of the irrational.

Kane’s trio handles the examples of “lyrical impressionism” with four pleasant themes, thoughtfully elaborated. The yin/yang of Kane’s album concept gives it dynamic contrast, but without the vivid personalities of Gress and Liebman, this music would be relatively anonymous.

Originally Published