Label: Whirlwind Records, 2018
Personnel – Jure Pukl: tenor saxophone; Melissa Aldana: tenor saxophone; Joe Sanders: bass; Gregory Hutchinson: drums.
The up-and-coming New York-based tenor saxist Jure Pukl went back home, Slovenia, to record Doubtless, an open-spirited album comprising originals and covers. In this stalwart quartet, he shares the frontline with his wife, award-winning tenorist Melissa Aldana, while the foundation is entrusted to bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Greg Hutchinson, who sport courage and firmness in their duties.
The title track, “Doubtless”, launches a contrapuntal dance for the reedists. They seamlessly forge ahead, en route from the carefully scored theme to spontaneous interchanges, and are certainly thankful for Sanders’ brilliant accompaniment, which carries a definite sense of harmonic direction. If the counterpoint is king here, then jubilant parallel movements limn “Doves”, which, clocking at just over seven minutes, is not just the longest piece on the set but also one of the most attractive. While the rhythm section creates a gorgeous state of cadenced emancipation, the high-wire individual statements by the saxophonists are separated by a fine bass monologue.
A vibrant double-saxophone intro brings Ornette Coleman’s “InterSong” to life, conjuring an unfussy, classic avant-garde scenario. Shades of Ornette are a bit everywhere, becoming particularly steep on “The Mind and The Soul”.
An African-tinged groove infests “Elioté”, a celebratory composition wrote by Sanders for his newborn son. Curiously, I detected something from Lee Morgan in its melody.
“Elsewhere” is a sumptuously grooving, perfectly danceable music cocktail prepared by the simpatico quartet, in which they seem to join the dots between jazz, Latin, and rock, respectively brought by the saxophonists’ well-versed language, continual bass patterns, and imaginative drumming.
The quartet is reduced to a trio on “Compassion” - a leisurely engaging reflection adorned with conspicuous motivic chromaticism and circular phraseology - and to a duo (sax and bass) on “Where Are You Coming From?”, whose salient folk intonations attempt to respond the question in the title.
Prone to buoyancy, Doubtless showcases Pukl and his associates combining traditional and modern elements within well-defined forms and structures. Prepare yourself for an exciting expedition bolstered by the passion of true creators and their solid musicianship.
02 - Doves ► 05 - Compassion ► 06 - Elsewhere