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CD Review: Dagda Quartet – Dagda

Dagda Quartet – Dagda
(Lyte Records LR009. CD review by Chris Parker)

A recent review called the Dagda Quartet’s music ‘energetic modern jazz with a rocky edge’, and that’s a pretty good summary of the fare on offer on this, their debut album. Most of the compositions (a five-piece suite and a tune called ‘NLTD’) are by alto player Tom Harrison, and they’re carefully constructed, spun from immediately accessible (even hummable) melodies but giving rise to powerful interaction between Harrison, guitarist Billy Adamson and the rhythm section, bassist Tom West and drummer Mike Clowes.

Harrison has a vigorous, peppery alto sound which blends well with Adamson’s neat guitar in the theme statements and tastefully complements producer Michael Buckley’s soprano and tenor on the two tracks on which he guests. Adamson, too, is a skilful soloist, patiently building his improvisations from repeated little clusters of notes, achieving hard-edged climaxes riding on Clowes’s pleasantly clattering drums and West’s lithe bass.

Finishing with a poised visit to Billy Strayhorn’s winsome theme, ‘A Flower is a Lovesome Thing’, Dagda is a fine calling card for a fresh, lively band.

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