Duski – Make A Wish
Jazz is one of those genres that divides opinions and can produce strong reactions. As the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band opined on their debut; “Jazz; Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold”. It might be a difficult genre but that doesn’t stop it re-emerging every 15 years or so and in recent years UK acts such as Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming and GoGo Penguin have been gaining ground and Jazz is once again cool. On the evidence of this album Duski should now take their place alongside such acts.
Over the years Jazz has taken various divergent paths. Some traversed the experimental, and at times, challenging route which gave us the likes of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Others took an easier, more mainstream direction, such as Spyro Gyra and reached its nadir with the likes of Kenny G. The major shift for this generation of acts classified as Jazz echoes the willingness and ability of listener’s to genre skip finding as much enjoyment from a Public Enemy track as they do from listening to Gil Evans. In that spirit, this album is not tied to one particular style and moods and sounds shift effortlessly.
The opener ‘Take It Back’ starts with a rumbling bass, LA Womanesque keys and launches into a driving track that is propelled by some fine work from Paul Jones that helps build the track before a climactic return to the main theme. Elsewhere ‘Milk Thistle’ is a delicious Miles Davis style jam with some ‘out there’ playing that leans out of the carriage window just far enough to avoid derailement; not an easy feat. The playing is consummate throughout and Greg Sterland’s tenor sax is particularly noteworthy. There is a Blackstar feel to the resolved lamentful anguish of the final track ‘Before the Show’. If he had been around the New York scene when Bowie was scouting out for players for his final album “Blackstar” then Sterland’s playing would have given Donny McAslin a run for his money.
‘Make A Wish’ is a world class album that should propel Duski to the forefront of the UK Jazz scene and referring back to the Bonzo Dog’s assessment of the genre; rest assured Viv Stanshall would need oven gloves to handle this album.