Christopher Dammann

composer/musician

DMG Newsletter for Friday, May 11th, 2018

RESTROY With CHRISTOPHER DAMMANN / James Davis/ Kevin William Davis / Paul Giallorenzo /Mabel Kwan / Avreeayl Ra- Restroy (1980 Records; USA)
Restroy is James Davis on trumpet & ring modulator, Paul Giallorenzo & Mabel Kwan on keyboards & synth, Christopher Damman on bass & compositions and Avreeayl Ra on drums. A couple of years back, we received two disc in the mail from a couple discs from two related Chicago ensembles, Restroy & the 3, 5, 7 Ensemble. Both were pretty great, although I hadn’t heard of any of the musicians involved beforehand. For this, the second disc from Restroy, the personnel has changed a bit and now includes a couple of more known Chicago musicians: Paul Giallorenzo (with Guillermo Gregorio & a current trio with Jason Stein & Frank Rosaly) and drummer Avreeayl Ra (Ernest dawkins & Nicole Mitchell). Bassist Christopher Dammann wrote 4 of the 7 pieces here, the others appear to be group improvs. “A Line and a Point” begins with a web of strummed bass strings, somber trumpet, eerie organ and simmering percussion. “Close” is laid back and hypnotic, with inspired slow-burning trumpet quietly bathed in effects and a swirling, churning rhythm team providing the constant cushion. “Many Exiles” sounds as if the ensemble were playing in slow motion, giving the vibe a dream-like haze. Mr. Dammann’s contrabass is at the center of most of these pieces, tapping and plucking the strings like they were a part of an ancient ceremony or ritual. He is a most gifted bassist who deserves to be heard elsewhere. Since the trumpet is the lead instrument here, both keyboards are used in interlocking layers, rather sequencer-like in sound with a couple of quietly brain-melting synth solos. On “Grids”, the piano plays a repeating, hypnotic line in the distance while the electronic keyboard/synth add swirls lines on top with Jon Hassell-like or Miles-muted echoed trumpet also floating above the somber storm. The overall effect is one of a churning haze washing over all of us listening. Another raft of hope floating from the Chicago underground scene. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG