By Bill Milkowski | Published September 2019
Having toured and recorded with Ornette Coleman and James Blood Ulmer, and more recently with Marc Ribot’s Young Philadelphians, drummer G. Calvin Weston long has occupied a spot at the outer reaches of jazz. A flexible, intuitive player with huge ears and rapid-fire hands, he initially jammed out the material for this set in the studio before composing string parts.
Going from the serene opener, “With Open Wings,” to the pulse-quickening title track—fueled by Weston’s Cobham-esque attack and Elliot Garland’s fuzz bass—will have Mahavishnu Orchestra fans recalling the two-part “Eternity’s Breath.” The funky “Incarnate,” grounded by Weston’s slamming backbeat and Tom Spiker’s slashing rhythm guitar, is augmented by angular string lines, while “Abstraction” offers a brief free-improv with piano, strings and voice, before the ensemble returns to funk on another Mahavishnu-flavored offering, “Dance With Shadows.” The six-minute solo drums showcase “Thunder” gives Weston a chance to stretch and tell a story, while the cooking closer, “Endurance,” finds the bandleader in a frantic race with the strings to the finish line.
Dust And Ash: With Open Wings; Dust And Ash; Incarnate; Abstraction; Dance With Shadows; Thunder; Endurance. (33:39)
Personnel: G. Calvin Weston, drums, pocket trumpet; David Dzubinski, piano, keyboard; Tom Spiker, guitar; Elliot Garland, electric bass; Carlos Santiago, Benjamin Sutin, violin; Ashley Monique Vines, viola; Ajibola Rivers, cello; Kayle Brecher, vocals.