Southport SSD-0068 (August 1999)

Damon Short - Paul Scea Duo - BALANCE of POWER

Following on the heels of the critically acclaimed Short-Scea Quartet CD, Removable Media, this is a collection of spontaneous compositions with Paul Scea on a variety of wood and metal flutes, tenor & soprano saxophones, and bass clarinet, with Damon Short heard on vibes as well as an extended drum setup (Short's first extended recorded outing on keyboards since the Penguin Shuffle LP). - an afternoon of extended improvisations by the duo (joined for two tracks by bass trumpeter Ryan Shultz) captured by the master engineer David Baker, whose console artistry truly makes him part of the group.

The sonic landscapes created by the duo on Balance of Power cover a vast terrain ranging from the most visceral free-jazz bashing to quiet studies in pure sound, echoing music from Africa, the Far East and modern Europe along the way.

"From the onset it becomes quite apparent that these gents are in synch ...(Scea and Short) achieve a Balance of Power by combining wit, savvy and intelligence yet also display synergy and a sense of impressive meeting of the minds! (* * * * ½)" - Glenn Astarita, AllAboutJazz (Dec 1999)
the duo...
"Balance of Power is a set of duo improvisations that takes Short's music into yet a different area…(his) textural qualities are clearly to the fore whether playing drums or vibes… Scea's reeds possess a full-bodied tone, especially on tenor. Two players with a wide array of instruments ensure a program of breadth and diversity…Balance of Power is a complete program that makes for a very satisfying hour's listen." - Robert Iannapollo, Cadence, August 2000 (p. 46)
"Scea's flute work is most arresting, whether on the more vocally dominated "Zero Language Generation", the utter beauty with Short's bowed vibes on the sea breeze-ish "Beaches", or the skittish flute-vibes duo "Collapsible Coordinates", all definite highlights... The title track, written by Short, is free-bop induced, Scea again on tenor. Shultz's two pieces have he and Scea's tenor grumbling, Short's drums cackling during "MLC", while the bass trumpet and tenor's stealth underpinnings offset Short's inquisitive piano for a standout "Drop That Name". Short's two vibes solos have a similar hyper active quality; "2WD1" starts shimmering then boils with boppish adages, "Wahzo 3" bounces off the walls like a superball on acid. The feeling of freedom is ever present in this recording that takes cues from avant expressionism, clearly defined in a wide variety of ways and means by its contemplative participants. Recommended." -- Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

1. Zero Generation Language flute, voice & percussion
2. Arachnophilia vibes, voice & bass clarinet
3. 2WD1 vibraphone solo
4. Breath of Antarctica soprano sax, piano strings & percussion
5. MLC tenor sax, bass trumpet, drums & voices
6. Impending Downpour tenor sax & drums
7. Collapsible Coordinates vibes & flute
8. Home Improvement percussion & piano strings
9. Homage flutes & bowed cymbals
10. Village Politics prepared vibes & wood flute
11. Balance of Power tenor sax & drums
12. Wahzo 3 vibraphone solo
13. Drop That Name tenor sax, bass trumpet, voices & piano
14. Beaches flute & bowed vibraphone

Recorded in Evanston (Chicago), March 7, 1997, with Paul Scea, metal and wood flutes, tenor & soprano sax, bass clarinet, piano strings, voice ; Damon Short, vibes, drums, cymbals, percussion, piano, voice; with Ryan Shultz, bass trumpet (tracks 5 & 13). Engineered by David Baker

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