DE3 – Live At Maxwell’s

DE3 "Live at Maxwells"This album comes close to improvised perfection. The way Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Dezron Douglas (bass), and Eric McPherson (drums) expose themselves on this intimate live trio recording is simply the epitome of what this music is all about. It is also a brisk change from his equally inspiring last album, “Things Of That Particular Nature” (see review on these pages), given that he exchanges his ideas and solos on the spot with just two other musicians.

And the way bass and drums play on and off with each other, with the leader floating over the melody on “A Slight Taste”, is on the spot and tight as it can get. Even though this recording was made at Maxwell’s Drum Shop before a relatively small audience, I’m glad that engineer Jimmy Katz didn’t include any audience reaction here since there is always too much distraction with live recordings I think.

The svelte bass line on “Little Johnny C Blues” is powerful and contemplative at the same time and doesn’t last too long before Duane comes back in. I think the fact that the solos here are never too long, never too exhausting, is one of the stronger features on this album. It seems that every idea, every step forward and back, is just right on time and in sync. “Saturday Moanin'”, one of two tracks out of seven that was written by all three members, is a brilliantly pensive, almost tender composition that is faithfully schlepping the beat forward in slow motion, always keeping a trance-like mode.

Speaking of solos, Eric opens “Strokish” with an imaginative, enchanting solo and the piece itself is like a big work in progress, with rhythmic changes and improvised concepts the main architectural elements. There is another steady, sexy bass line on “Ebony Slick” where the bass is forming the structure for some funky lines on this growing piece.

The way Duane is speaking through his horn on the album closer “Little Rock”, is breathtaking. Flawless and conversational, he upholds the haunting spirit of the tune which again has a mesmerizing, repetitive, and sensuous bass line.

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