Dana Hall’s Spring
In 1965, on a break from the Miles Davis Quintet, drummer Tony Williams recorded Spring, his second album under his own name. Featuring the remarkable saxophone pairing of Wayne Shorter and Sam Rivers, this collection of original compositions was one of the most forward-looking recordings from that period. Inspired by it, Dana Hall, one of today’s most gifted drummers, put together his own pianoless quartet, Spring, which builds on the Williams album in intriguing ways.
Today, drawing from a sonic palette including mbira, electronics and various percussion instruments, as well as drums and cymbals, Hall will lead an expanded version of Spring first introduced in 2013. It will feature the spirited Trinidad native Etienne Charles, whose 2013 album Creole Soul, was widely praised for its blending of jazz and Caribbean sounds, and local boy made good Victor Garcia on trumpet. They will join saxophonist and bass clarinetist Geof Bradfield and saxophonist and flutist John Wojciechowski and bassist Clark Sommers.
There’s no substitute for the working experience these musicians have together (Hall has played in Bradfield’s and Wojciechowski’s bands), but even when he comes to a situation cold, Hall has the ability to bring out the best in his fellow players. Reviewing his 2009 album, Into the Light, NPR critic Kevin Whitehead said he “plays more stuff behind other musicians than some drummers do in a solo,” adding that “his busy-ness is less about going it alone than connecting – of binding all the musicians’ parts together in a complex matrix of rhythm and melody.” These may be the waning days of summer, but Spring couldn’t be more welcome.