Greg Duncan Quintet

Unveiled

oa2 22037

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Grego Applegate Edwards, Cadence, Oct-Nov 2007

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Trumpeter Greg Duncan works and resides in Chicago and received his Masters at North Texas State. With a prominent middle range and occasional climbs to the mid-upper registers, Duncan's playing most often reminds of early- to mid-period Miles, certainly in sound if not always in terms of phrases. On his first CD there are six
originals. All reflect in essence the sensibility of the 1965 Miles-Shorter compositional sound, although there are contemporary flourishes.
There are also two well-wrought Jazz quasi-standards by Shorter and Henderson and one popular standard. The sidemen are competent and sympathetic. Nicholson's alto and tenor have some Shorter roots, pianist Fahmy shows middle-period Hancock as an influence and the rhythm section has a loose swing that suggests the classic Carter-Williams approach without copying it. There are ups and downs on the disk. The opener ?No Return? has uptempo funk underpinnings and a Weather Report-like riff. The tenor solo has some clams on the upper register with falsetto cries that don?t quite come off. Perhaps an additional take would have helped. Duncan's solo is an honest exposition with shades of Miles, Fats, and Freddie. The Shorter penned ?Sleeping Dancer Sleep On,? attractively played, features a lyric moment for tenor that builds and shows a little Getz with the Shorter. The uptempo swing of ?Jimi H.? has bluesy components fitting for a tribute to Hendrix. Duncan's solo shows his affinity with the Blues, though he sounds slightly nervous and might benefit from more use of aural silences. The rhythm section does a good job and Nicholson's tenor solo is somewhat eloquent. ?Guardian Angel? is guilty of some rather cliche-ridden melody phrases. The title cut ?Unveiled? is better, sporting a straight-eight feel with a lyric atmosphere and Duncan's solo shows a good sense of structure. The Shorter-Miles nexus comes to the forefront on ?Tony's City,? with an uptempo pace and a rather nice tenor solo in that mode. Duncan sounds pretty bright.
Drummer Deitemeyer has some drive and a solo spotlight that is tasteful with original touches. A rather ravishing version of Joe Henderson's ?Black Narcissus? follows. Fairly slow, the rendition features memorable legato voicings on tenor and trumpet. It is a very Miles-like version, but refreshing nonetheless. Duncan plays a lyrical solo that totally fits. Fahmy's piano has that introspective Evan's feel, at least at first. Greene's bass sounds a Chambers-Carter motif in the background. The brushwork reminds one of Jimmy Cobb. Well worth the listening time!

A quasi-Reggae ?On the Prowl? has a noir tenor melody. Duncan shows rhythmic-melodic facility in terms of some pretty nice runs, contrasts and dynamic tension?though he falters slightly towards the end. The final cut ?My Foolish Heart? features a plain, honest midrange Milesy melody on the open horn. The rhythm section doubles up the time?almost like a Bossa. Fahmy does some Hancock-Evans voicings underneath. His solo is in the same vein, with introspective melody noodling overtop.

Duncan's CD in the end leaves a positive impression of a player and a band that could use some collective and individual growth but are blessed with good taste and give us a program that pleases overall. This is by no means a perfect disk, but there are some very poignant moments that will appeal to those who love middle Miles. You could do a lot worse.






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