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Nicholas D'Amato's Royal Society — Nullius in Verba
(Buckyball BR017, 2005, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 2006-05-01

Nullius in Verba Cover art

Bassist Nicholas D’Amato took the title of his Royal Society’s debut album Nullius in Verba (Latin for “On the words of no one”) from the adopted motto of The Royal Society of London – a group of experimenters co-founded in the 17th century by chemist Robert Boyle. Drummer John O’Reilly and guitarist (and Steely Dan / Donald Fagen sideman) Wayne Kranz join D’Amato for his debut Royal Society release. All the songs are D’Amato compositions, but the band’s music contains lots of improvised sections so all three players put their own stamp on the overall sound and feel of the music. The trio’s style is a blend of experimental jazz, jam music, rock, and funk. Many songs have chord changes that are harmonically out in Allan Holdsworth territory and the Phish / Grateful Dead-type jam element is clearly present too. The album contains three short bass solos. “Sensus” is a smooth chorused-bass number, while “Expanded” is a fuzz-bass exploration, and “Compound” has lots of harmonic tension. The remaining five tracks are trio pieces. “Pivot” is a good example of the band working through some Holdsworth-sounding chord changes. “Ratio” has lots of jamming over a recurring 7/4 pattern. “Sequence” starts out almost as a freeform jazz piece before turning heavy and riff-based. All three musicians demonstrate that they’re accomplished players here, navigating through odd time signatures and difficult harmonic passages with ease. Krantz’s unique and commanding playing style deserves special mention. Don’t take my word for it. Check these dudes out yourself.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Nicholas D'Amato

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