Jimmy Bennington

Midnight Choir

oa2 22007

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Jon Davis, Expose

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The tracks on this release are the work of a trio (drummer Jimmy Bennington and bassist David Klingensmith with sax player Seth Paynter) augmented from time to time by either trombone (Bruce Melville) or piano (John Benjamin). Paynter is the most frequent composer, with a selection each by John Coltrane, Albert Mangelsdorff, and Michel LeGrande. The tracks, recorded in 1996 and 1998 but only released in 2003, are fairly free in sound, but offer contrasting passages of arranged coordination. The ensemble tends towards sparseness in sound rather than all blowing at the same time, and the energy level remains fairly cool, even meditative, never frenetic or frantic. At times Bennington seems to play with his hands rather than sticks or brushes (though maybe I'm being influenced by the picture in the booklet). Paynter's playing on tenor and soprano saxes is mostly melodic, with some angular lines and occasional use of rough or otherwise mangled tomes. Klingensmith stays mostly to supporting roles, hinting at the tonality, sometimes switching to the bow for an alternate tone. The piano trio reading of LeGrande's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" stands out as much more conventional, with Benjamin's piano (while well-played) not straying far from established traditions. In all, this releases serves more a sampler of Binnington's Midnight Choir rather than a coherent album, but he's definitely a talen to keep an eye on.






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