COMPOSERS: Damon Brown,Jonathan Gee
LABELS: 33 Records
ALBUM TITLE: Damon Brown-Jonathan Gee Quartet
PERFORMER: Damon Brown (t, fl), Jonathan Gee (p), Yorai Oron (b), Shai Zelman, Yaaki Levy (d), Idit Eshel (vc)
CATALOGUE NO: 33 JAZZ 061 (distr. New Note)
Israel has a fertile jazz scene producing talented players such as saxist Gilad Atzmon (see above) and bassist Avishai Cohen, who have relocated from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to London and New York. The UK’s Damon Brown and Jonathan Gee hung around over there after a date at the Red Sea Jazz Festival and insinuated themselves among local musicians. The result was this dose of fresh, Blue Note-styled bop, led by the Englishmen but uplifted by an Israeli rhythm section.
The programme is all original, with Brown and Gee sharing the credits for the crisp, medium-to-fast tempo tunes. The pair go well together, bustling against one another without ever tripping up. Brown has an attractive lived-in sound that brightens up when channelled through the harmon mute. Gee plays with the pent-up energy of a Fifties throwback, sparks escaping into the gaps left by Brown.
We’ll hear a lot more of bassist Yorai Oron on the strength of this session: his time-keeping is impeccable and his close playing behind the soloists emphasises the top line beautifully. Smart drumming, from both contributors, further finesses the set, giving it a funky and focused edge. Garry Booth