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David Gilmore: Energies of Change

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Sometimes it’s not what time signature you play in but what you can play in that time signature. From his time with M-Base musicians like Steve Coleman to more recent sessions with Rudresh Mahanthappa (as well as his own work as a leader), guitarist David Gilmore has proven he can unleash a creative lead within the most convoluted meters. But more than merely putting his chops on display, the guitarist continues to use challenging time signatures as a means to create compelling music.

“Trick of I” begins with Gilmore and saxophonist Marcus Strickland playing a descending line that swims upstream against the rhythm section, gaining velocity as it continues. The tension lightens when they move into solos; the rhythm underneath them shifts to a lithe 4/4, and they continue to interweave their parts without sounding busy. “Rajas Guna” gets especially frenetic, drummer Antonio Sanchez inspiring and upholding Gilmore’s rapid groove. This, and the tracks where Strickland deepens the overall sound by overdubbing bass clarinet and additional saxophones, represents the stronger moments of Energies of Change. In “Dance of Duality,” pianist Luis Perdomo does the heavy lifting while the rhythm section gets additional help from Kofo Wanda on talking drum. A few tracks don’t have as much drive, like “The Seeker”-where an angular riff goes on a little long-and a too-relaxed reading of Kenny Kirkland’s “Revelations.” But by and large Gilmore and company offer distinctive surprises.

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