Chris Dingman’s Waking Dreams
This is bracing music, with complex rhythms, brooding harmonies, but also crisp melodic hooks, and an underlying lyricism: a quiet, sometimes majestic beauty.
It’s engaging from the start, but I must say, I wasn’t taken in completely till Track 4, “Manhattan Bridge,” a haunting ballad that rings with romance, melancholy, wistfulness, and hope all at once. (Maybe I’m projecting, but listen for yourself.)
The spell doesn’t break until the last track, a clunky stab at jazz-and-poetry. (Push the Stop button before you get there.)
All the musicians play with a surefooted ease and, when it’s called for, intensity. Akinmusire is, as expected, very good but he doesn’t stand out from the rest. The sound quality is generally quite good: the vibes, piano, and horns ring out, clear and dynamic, though the bass is a bit buried and the drums sound out of phase.
Still, Dingman is a leader worth following. (The CD seems to be available only from his website; Amazon sells only an MP3 version and, as I write this, a used copy of the CD that some joker is offering for one billion dollars.)