"...picks up the ball where Andrew Hill left off and runs with it."
Stephen Graham at Marlbank reviewed Dana Saul's Ceiling. Read the original review here (full text below).
DANA SAUL, CEILING, ENDECTOMORPH ***1/2
By Stephen Graham, Marlbank
November 6, 2019
Not everything works here but overall Ceiling stands for imaginative work and I think pianist Dana Saul has a lot going for him particularly as a composer. His recording group finds him with Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Kevin Sun, saxophone; Patricia Brennan, vibraphone; Walter Stinson, bass; and Matt Honor, drums.
The ensemble sound has a moodily plangent base, the title track full of interest especially because Honor skilfully manages to steer the relatively static melodic narrative for quite a while until Brennan then makes a jagged run for it. There is a lot of skill in the unfolding development that kept me for one guessing.
'A Living Dream' has a tense uncertain feel to it that again is conceived in quite a new way, Saul managing to blend melodic voicings that tune in and out of tonality and yet once again there is an optimism breaking through just about although that is relative.
Serious music, O'Farrill operates in Ambrose Akinmusire territory a little while again Brennan contributes substantially to the sound and her contributions impress most of all.
Worth further listening in the future as his career develops Saul is on to something here that picks up the ball where Andrew Hill left off and runs with it.
Some tracks, notably opener 'Reflection in a Moving Surface' seem more like work in progress, a heaping up of texture, than the finished article. However that aside there is more than enough overall happily that works than does not.