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Damian Erskine | So to Speak – [DE-02, 2010]

Damian Erskine - So to Speak

Bassist/composer Damian Erskine is the nephew of legendary jazz drummer Peter Erskine. Damian arrives from the West Coast this spring with a distinctively seasoned debut appropriately titled “So to Speak.” According to the press release, Damian’s debut “promises to be one of the most exciting recordings of 2010.

I’m always elated to hear an artist’s of Damian Erskine’s caliber. On his debut, he attracts equivalent talent with the proper chemistry to achieve the quality of music found on his momentous recording. Therefore, he called on the following talented ensemble of musicians which is comprised of … Reinhardt Melz on drums, Ramsey Embick on piano, Chris Mosley plays guitar and Rafeal Trujillo is the percussionist. Also on hand is John Nastos on tenor horn, Jason Dumars on soprano saxophone, Paul Mazzio plays the trumpet and Derek Rieth working out on percussion.

On the opening selection Erskine’s rhythmic voice ascends progressively as his fingers rumble furiously up and down the fret with symmetrical results on the venomous “Inside Out.” Yes, this young cat came to play with chops galore he stands among the best of his peers yet they’re not imposing to the point of being abrasive … the music here is distinctive, stylish and tastefully managed!

Erskine’s assails his instrument unapologetically as it groans with enthusiasm extending the velocity of his musical vocabulary with the infectious Latin tinge grooves and textures on “FIF.” While connected in fluid motion, Damian’s tenacious voicing doesn’t ease up on the lively “Kaluanui” which complements the previous tune both compositions are in the spirit of his apparent musical influence bassist Jaco Pastorious.

The intensity of music rooted in the frame of “So to Speak,” awakens from within on the African influenced “American Gyro.” This sumptuous composition ultimately transcends style blending coherent rhythms and interrelated melodies for the cross-genre music aficionados to fest their ears on with each play.

The adventurous Erskine approaches his compositions with a sense of urgency on “So to Speak.” He strategically unleashes his voice with each note to increase the pulse with enthralling dexterity many of his rivals have yet to concur.

As a skillful songwriter and arranger, Erskine exudes his sound with three more powerful gems titled “Aslant, Cabrerina and Creep.” Although strikingly similar, on all three cuts Damian Erskine brilliantly fuses the elements of jazz accented with colorful Latin favors challenges the virtuosity of this marvelous ensemble.

Damian Erskine’s “So to Speak,” is simply flawless, rhythmically mesmerizing and underneath it all melodically transparent! “So to Speak,” by Erskine escapes the spoils of commercialism untarnished to unveil a musical gem that want disappoint even the hard to please music enthusiasts! Recommended: —Rob Young