Christopher Dammann

composer/musician

DMG August, 2016 Newsletter

RESTROY - Saturn Return (Milk Factory 009; USA) Restroy features: Nick Anaya on tenor sax, James Davis on trumpet, Gina Sobel on flute, Catherine Monnes on violin & cello, Tim Spine on guitar, Chris Damman on bass, Loren Oppenheimer & Matt Wyatt on percussion, tabla & electronics and Daniel Richardson & Dylan Andrews on drums. All of the pieces on this disc except one were written by the bassist Chris Damman. Four of the ten musicians (tenor, trumpet, strings & bass) play on every piece, while the rest switch off. “Twenty-Seven” opens and has a lovely, laid back vibe with sublime tenor sax simmering throughout. I dig the way the ensemble spins on “Uma”, calm yet quick with rich harmonies for the tenor sax and trumpet. The rhythm section, Dammann on bass & Dylan Andrews on drums are what makes this unit special as they work together perfectly. Towards the end, the drums are doubled up with a tabla player (Loren Oppenheimer) who also fits just right. Mr. Damman does a great job of adding several inter-connected layers which move tightly around another. On “S.M.I.B.O.”, a number of tight swirling lines continuous spin: sax, flute, trumpet, strings, guitar all soar around one another while the rhythm team expands and contracts in sections. Saxist Nick Anaya has a great, soulful, warm tone without ever screaming. There are songs which sound like normal jazz on the surface, with the tenor sax and trumpet up front, while the other players: guitar or flute or strings are inserted in between the frontline horns like subtle sonic spice spice or punctuation. The music here is often modest and never pushes too hard at unnecessary showing off. It is consistently inventive but never erupts too much. The ever-growing Chicago underground creative music scene is well documented by the Milk Factory label. Time to check other discs on this label. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG