Columbus Ohio based multi-instrumentalist Adam Smith sure is one hell of a prolific musician. On any given day of the week he can be found either recording or performing with a myriad of musicians in various different styles of music ranging from metal to jazz, and anything in between. One such collaboration is this new brilliant musical dialogue with saxophonist and bass clarinetist Hasan Abdur-Razzaq entitled Dedications. For the most part this eight song offering consists of the duo (Smith is on drums) conversing in an unscripted manner, and it's hard to fathom just how the results could be any more rewarding for fans of improvised jazz.
After the duo makes their way swiftly through songs like "It's On My Mind", "Candles" and "Homecoming" the listener is immediately taken aback by the sheer power wielded collectively by these two likeminded musicians as Hasan demonstrates he is just as adept at unleashing moments of blistering intensity as he is pensive passages of quiet restraint. All the while Adam adds bold splashes of color with his insightful and elaborate accents behind the kit. The only drawback about these first six compositions is that they're over so quickly, and yet it's amazing just how much depth and soul can be poured into a three and half or four minute track.
On the final two songs the duo changes things up a little bit, especially on the eighteen minute "Live Free or Die" in which Gerard Cox (trumpet) and Chris Weldon (trombone) are thrown into the mix. This gloriously abstract composition is made all the more compelling by Adam's 8-track tape manipulations, vintage synth washes on the ARP 2600 and some lush sounding forays on the Fender Rhodes, while Hasan, Gerard and Chris Weldon appear and reappear at different intervals throughout this fantastic electro/ acoustic avant-garde mélange. For the final track "Afterimage" it's one again back to the core duo as this one dips into a bit of Musique Concrete from Smith before Hasan rips off another extended solo that would make the late John Coltrane proud.
There you have it, forty minutes of epic jams and certainly one hell of a mind blowing excursion from beginning to end. You'll be amazed at the level of spontaneity on display here, but also the inherent synergy that exists between these two musicians is almost beyond anything I could describe in words. My only complaint is that this disc had to end. The good news though is that there's more great music on the horizon waiting to be drawn out of the moment by Hasan Abdur-Razzaq, Adam Smith and Gerard Cox as they'll continue to further their explorations with their jazz collective Wizards.
1) It's On My Mind
3) Conversation Peace
6) River at Dusk
7) Live Free or Die