Exposé Online banner

Elton Dean & Sophia Domancich — Avant
(Hux Records 063, 2005, CD)

Elton Dean — Sea of Infinity
(Hux Records 050, 2004, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01

Avant Cover artSea of Infinity Cover art

Two of the late Elton Dean’s last sessions as leader and co-leader have been championed by Hux records in the UK. Sea of Infinity captures him again leading an out session careening through nervous waters with a strong compass and the capable rhythm section of Mario Mattos and Tony Bianco. The two backed Elton many times in the last decade giving consistency and grounding to the alto player’s pensive dialogues which led consistently into areas of rewarding exploration. Guitarist Mark Hewins is also along for the entire sessions layering the backdrop with a careful ambience that calms and shatters both “Steam Rooming” and “Beer Can and X.” The latter piece is slightly more successful due a more distinguishable melody with Elton’s leads. Just Hewins backs Elton on the twenty-minute dialogue, “Boat’ing,” making it the most intimate statement from the long time free jazz icon.

In contrast the piano backing which Domancich provides for tracks on Avant gives more open space for lyrical statement and conjecture. The two met and played together in Pip Pyle’s Equip’Out; that relationship blossomed into a unique conversation between equal improvisers. The opening cut is perhaps the best dialogue between the two, where the melodic interchange is comfortable and search-driven. “No Bother” is nearly 30 minute exchange, at times dissonant from Domancich chordal placement but anchored by Dean’s sax lines. The disc closer, “Les Portes-en-ré,” features Domancich pushing Dean in a series of flourishes that show her fine sense of rhythmic accompaniment, offering key openings for Dean to counter comment. With the Brit jazz great now at peace, these recordings serve as a gentle reminder of how he moved to inspire collaborators to push improvisational boundaries.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2005 releases, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Sophia Domancich

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

A Triggering Myth - Between Cages – This is the third outing for the keyboard propelled duo of Rick Eddy and Tim Drumheller, collectively known as A Triggering Myth. For anyone familiar with their previous two efforts (a self-titled...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues