JEFF MARX & JEFF SIEGEL Dreamstuff (Ayler Records)
by Jeff Waggoner
From the first note of the CD Dreamstuff, the listener can tell you are being engaged by a serious tenor saxophonist.
Anyone who takes such care to deliver great, throaty blasts out of the sax like Chicago-based Jeff Marx does, you know he is a meticulous craftsman.
Listen further, to Dreamstuff, the newly released duo CD on the Swedish Ayler Records label with drummer Jeff Siege Siegel, you know you are listening to art, not just craft.
Hudson Valley resident Siegel is much more a collaborator in this duo session than he is an accompanist or rhythm keeper. While Marx takes center stage on most of the 10 songs on this CD, Siegels presence and counterpoint to Marx is what makes this CD a keeper.
Its a rare delight to hear a drum set player who is a total percussionist. Someone who doesnt let any clank, thunk or tinkle go unused.
This is especially the case on the beautiful improvisation, Birds Sancutary, whistles, flutes and jangles make it float.
All 10 songs are originals written by Marx, Siegel or producer John Esposito and it is one of those albums that really should be listened as a whole.
It says a lot about the level of musicianship in this region when a label such as Ayler Records produces one of our own. Ayler Records has put out recording of some of the most important free jazz musicians performing today, including Peter Brötzmann, Henry Grimes, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Assif Tsahar and Charles Gayle.
But free jazz shouldnt put off potential listeners of this CD. It occasionally teases with free jazz concepts, but the players/composers always find some kind of organizing principle that shape the music. Every note here makes sense.
Personally, this is one of my favorite CD acquisitions so far in 2007. Recommended.
Jeff Waggoner has written book, CD and concert reviews for publications such as Metroland, Jazz Times, Blues Access and The New York Times. He lives in Nassau, is a student of jazz saxophone and guitar and can be frequently found at jazz, blues and folk concerts.