Dave Bryant

Night Visitors
SE Records 003

An agile keyboardist who was one of the very few to be a member of an Ornette Coleman group, Cambridge, Mass.-based Dave Bryant infrequently puts out leadership sessions. Yet Night Visitors is a splendid example of his art, pinpointing his compositions as well as ambidextrous skills on acoustic piano and various keyboards. Besides his stint with Coleman, Bryant has also played with the likes of George Garzone and John Tchicai. Here he has invaluable cooperation of bassist Charnett Moffett, who has worked with everyone from Sonny Sharrock to Wynton Marsalis and percussionist Greg Bendian has recorded with Steve Swell and William Parker.

Although other tracks trace Bryant’s ability to angle textures from authoritative Red Garland-like comping to Herbie Hancock-Chick Corea-like electric keyboard spankling, sometimes overdubbed, the fundamental comparison of his keyboard identities occurs on “Scorpio 80” and “The Night Flock”. The former mixes a pseudo-organ gospel-like riff seconded by programmed electric vibrations with a drum backbeat. The result is a foot tapping piece that is both churchy and cutting edge. Meanwhile the lengthy “The Night Flock” fluidly adds cymbal pop and bass thumps behind the pianist’s arpeggio-rich variations. As drum smacks harden Bryant appears to be filling in the spaces between the keys as piano glissandi swell and retreat, emphasizing varied timbres without neglecting a groove.

Moving among these textures the trio emphasizes motifs encompassing bass thumb pops and sul tasto sweeps plus acoustic piano storytelling and squishy electronic oscillations. For his part, Bendian demonstrates his percussion smarts on the three-part “Three Night Visitors” suite. Presaging Bryant’s slow-moving treble key variations with glockenspiel rings and distinct coloration, he turns “Three Night Visitors: Part II” into a jerky duet of doumbek patting and electric piano echoes. The concluding “Part III” cobbles together Moffett’s double stopping, percussion clatters and Bryant’s exposition mating a Coleman-like theme and a lullaby. Confirming once again that under-celebrated talents exist everywhere, these players are ones you’d like to visit during the day as well as at night.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Lime Pickle 2. In Transit 3. Skywritten 4, Chihuahua Pearl* 5. Confidential 6. Scorpio 80 7. The Night Flock 8. Dee Dee 9. Three Night Visitors: Part I 10. Three Night Visitors: Part II 11. Three Night Visitors: Part III

Personnel: Dave Bryant (piano and keyboards); Charnett Moffett (bass and electric bass*); Gregg Bendian (drums, doumbek, glockenspiel and percussion)