"Free music that casts a spell on you comes with a price. You are entitled to dream, imagine something different with every listen. Beauty takes many forms and everyone has their opinion. Alto saxophonist Gary Joseph Hassay, pianist Dan DeChellis and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani show you their own ideas about beauty on this recent album.
"The trio's music remains dark and dreamy throughout this session. Alto saxophone flirts with melody on occasion, but changes direction so abruptly and so often that nothing lingers long enough to be called a theme. The piano pounds majestically and creates the harmony, evoking impressions that roll comfortably over imaginary hillsides and through dangerous ravines. Beauty is there; however, things aren't as safe as they may seem. Stark danger lies just ahead. When you think the trio is going to move up, they move down; when you think they're slowing down for a respite, the action picks up again. Nakatani colors with variety while the others move seamlessly through an intricate landscape.
"Resembling a didgeridoo, the chanting on "What We All See" looms deep and downcast. When a man's voice plays with one's imagination like that, sparks begin to fly. "Roscoe Revisited," the most animated piece on the program, allows for alto skronking and plenty of fresh passion. It's as if a storm has suddenly appeared to interrupt an otherwise clear day in the country. Hassay, DeChellis and Nakatani enjoy variety on their journey through Nature's preserve.
- Jim Santella, allaboutjazz.com
, May 4, 2009
"IMPROV Words such as delicate and intricate aren't often used to describe the open-ended improv Gary Hassay, Dan DeChellis and Tatsuya Nakatani engage in on "beauty," but they're useful ways to convey a sense of the recording, captured at Wayne Becker's Westwires studio in Allentown and released on a German jazz label. For his second Konnex release, Hassay collaborates with pianist DeChellis and master percussionist Nakatani -- both Easton residents and widely known in jazz circles. The effort is a slightly more traditional trio -- Hassay's first was a duet with the English bassist, Paul Rogers -- even if it follows none of the jazz trio standard bits. There are no tunes, as such. Solos don't follow heads. No one comps, at least in the usual ways. What unfolds is a series of deep listening events with the musicians following their respective muses and blending the offered ideas into an ever-shifting tapestry of the whole. Earlier this year, Maine-based Foreign Frequency Records released a live performance by the trio at Bethlehem's WDIY-FM studios in a package that includes a 12-inch vinyl record (remember them?) and a companion CD that contains all the tunes on the record plus bonus tracks. Improv always seems to make more sense when witnessed live, but the musicians and the recording engineers behind "beauty" have managed to create a sonically accurate improv concert experience -- no easy feat. Relax, close your eyes and, most important, leave your expectations at the door. You might be surprised at the exquisite musical vortex you're likely to be drawn into.
- Tim Blangger, The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), August 25, 2007.