Premiere: Listen to Dan Weiss’ Composition ‘Orange’ from the Forthcoming ‘Utica Box’


For Utica Box, drummer Dan Weiss (center) convenes an acoustic ensemble—a group that contrasts the electric display of his 2018 Starebaby.

(Photo: John Rogers)

Drummer Dan Weiss apparently relishes the compositional colors afforded to his groups when he doubles-up instrumentation.

Last year’s Starebaby found Craig Taborn and Matt Mitchell pushing their keyboards toward ferocity amid a largely electric ensemble. So, as a follow-up, listeners might be expecting something propelled by a current and vaguely chaotic. Instead, Weiss convenes an acoustic ensemble, bringing in bassists Thomas Morgan and Eivind Opsvik, who pluck and bow across Utica Box, the bandleader’s Sunnyside album due out Nov. 11.

Weiss’ subtle funk and round tone on kick open “Orange,” which premieres below, giving the work a vibrancy that slowly fades, only to re-emerge later on during the 11-minute track. Moments of delicate improvisation are interspersed with concerted ensemble work, but it all still retains some of the nefarious feel of Starebaby. Alternately, it sounds like a storm announcing the end of summer or fall’s cool and placid afternoons.

“In my mind ‘Orange’ is the most balanced track on the recording,” Weiss wrote in an email about the song, which also counts pianist Jacob Sacks. “Everyone gets a chance to shine, improvisation and composition are on equal planes, the timbral palette is vast, and the melodic and harmonic material is expansive.”

For more information about the album, visit the Sunnyside website. DB

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