Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dan Weiss Trio: Dedication (Cygnus)

The next-level drummer shares a series of tributes to family members, artistic influences and more

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Dan Weiss Trio: Dedication
The cover of Dedication by Dan Weiss Trio

Each of the three previous outings from next-level drummer Dan Weiss’ long-running piano trio proved to be consistently inventive and engrossing, stretching the fabric of jazz’s most lived-in format. This latest entry, continuing to highlight the fathomless connection between the leader, pianist Jacob Sacks, and bassist Thomas Morgan, is equally compelling. Working his way through a series of tributes to family members, artistic influences, and a figure of importance in the broader sphere, Weiss opens up more than ever before. The enigmatic allure of his music remains fully intact, but you certainly leave this album knowing more about the man and his muses. 

Opening with “For Tim Smith,” Weiss nods to the founder of prog-punk band Cardiacs through direct harmonic engagement and imaginative twists. Later, he plays the praises of other musical inspirations. In a serpentine commendation for Conlon Nancarrow (and his Studies for Player Piano), overlaid time cycles create a dizzying foundational design. Bowing to Burt Bacharach, the trio deals in deceptively simple soundcraft. Drawing from Elvin Jones’ deft drumming (beside John Coltrane on the saxophonist’s “One Down, One Up” from Live at the Half Note), Weiss offers a seminar in building percussive bridges with phraseology. And, finding an honoree within the ranks, he spotlights Sacks with an angular panorama of the pianist’s wide-ranging skills. 

Eyeing the silver screen, Weiss taps into spiritual and celestial veins in saluting director Andrei Tarkovsky. Making a rare political statement, the drummer addresses the murder of George Floyd and all that surrounded it. And looking closer to home, he creates circles of warmth, love, and tenderness in separate dedications to his six-year-old daughter Vivienne and late grandmother May. With Dedication, Dan Weiss paints expansive portraits that say as much about the gravity of his art as they do about the people he recognizes. 

Learn more about Dedication on Bandcamp!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.